September 19, 2016
I can hear the voices and laughter of first-year college freshmen outside in the hallway.
The words they’re saying are muffled and oftentimes blend together incoherently, but being a second-year college student, it’s hard for me to mistake those familiar notes of excitement and nervousness in their voices. They’re probably talking about classes they’re planning to take, extracurriculars they’re looking forward to joining, and wild parties they hope to attend now that they’re far away from the restrictions of home.
Of those three topics, there is only one that I am still very wary of. Frat parties are known to be an integral part of university campuses and college culture. My campus is no exception to this unspoken standard. Though I had an awareness of the existence of Greek Life prior to my entrance into college, it wasn’t until that I had experienced a full year of higher education that I was made aware of its far-reaching influence. I wasn’t aware of the prominence of hoodies with Greek letters sewn on, or of the closeness shared between frat brothers and sorority sisters.
In the first-year group outside my door, I can hear freshmen girls laughing. Though I don’t know who they are and what kind of people they are, I do know that some girls in this group will eventually decide to attend a frat party. And given my knowledge of its statistics, I’m sadly aware that there’s a high possibility that one of these girls is going to get sexually assaulted at one of these parties.
The topic of sexual assault on college campuses is something that has gained more recognition in recent years, but it’s still a topic that many people still shy away from and are uncomfortable to talk about. Discussion of sexual assault on college campuses is particularly important, especially in regards to fraternities and frat parties. Despite initial discomfort, it’s important to get awareness out there.
Studies and statistics have shown, time and time again, that the occurrence of sexual assault happens frequently in Greek oriented environments. Many colleges, like mine, require incoming students to take a sexual assault awareness course. However, it very rarely, if ever, mentions the dangers that often come from attending these frat parties which are so often saturated with alcohol and toxic masculinity. So when a newly orientated student is brought into college campus, they’re not often well equipped with the tools to deal with such situations. College parties, and college party-goers are entirely different animals. Frat parties and frat brothers deviate even more. Walking into such as place with an inexperienced naïveté is dangerous.
The girls outside my dorm room are lively as ever.
I do not know who they are, but for their sake I can only hope that they can continue to stay as happy as they are in this moment.