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March 15 2016

Predictable: Harvard Study Blames Sexual Assaults on Fraternities

Charlotte Hays

Do you want to know why sexual assaults occur at Harvard University, allegedly with "alarming frequency?"

Well, the answer in part is because some all-male clubs on campus have a historic sense of entitlement.

That is the conclusion of a study that ascribed assaults to “a strong sense of sexual entitlement within some of the male Final Clubs [non-resident fraternities], stemming in part from the members’ control of social spaces that are imbued with a certain historical tradition and that elevate members’ social status on campus."

Or, as Naomi Schaefer Riley characterizes it:

In other words, blame the frats.

It’s not clear how the geniuses who wrote this report can draw a direct line between historically imbued social status and incidences of rape, but this is just the university’s latest in a series of public statements that will make people wonder whether Harvard’s reputation as being a place with smart people is at all deserved.

The school has spent the better part of two years and God knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars to study the “sexual assault” problem on its campus. First it conducted a shockingly bad student survey — full of unclear and leading questions that put asking someone on a date and complimenting someone on their looks in the same category as rape.

The conclusions of Harvard's rape/assault studiy seem to rely not on objective research but on the trendy prejudices of the Harvard community.

Naomi continues:

It turns out that other than dorms, Final Clubs are the most likely place for students to experience sexual assault. Well, aside from dormitories, they’re pretty much the only private space on the campus. If you’re going to assault someone, the cafeteria is not a great idea. And the English Department offices are usually locked after hours.

Perhaps this sounds flip, but most of these assaults aren’t assaults at all. They’re unwanted sexual contact between intoxicated people, as the report demonstrates. But the idea that these all-male institutions, which exist independent of the university, get to admit women to parties based on their looks has goaded liberals for so long that they are going to use “rape culture” as an excuse to make them co-ed or shut them down altogether.

Newsflash: Even if women were in “positions of power,” drunken sexual encounters and even sexual assault would still be a problem at these clubs.

Many fraternities were forced in the eighties and nineties to open their membership to women. It was presumed that women would be a civilizing influence, which turned out not to be the case. Schaefer Riley recalls that at one of these organizations, whenever Madonna's "Like a Virgin" was played, the women took off their clothes.

Quoting writer Caitlin Flanagan, Schaefer Riley wonders why, if fraternities are such dens of sexual iniquity, universities would encourage women to belong to them. The answer is that they are not really as described. If they were the university would call the police and men would be taken away in handcuffs.

The report, it seems, is just another way to play to the reigning campus prejudices.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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