Never mind the ongoing college rape crisis! According to Forbes contributor Bill Frezza, the real problem is all those drunken floozies ruining every fraternity man's innocent fun.
This is hardly an exaggeration of Frezza's position, which ran under the headline "Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities" and was pulled from the Forbes website shortly after publication.
In a lengthy rant, Frezza tried to shift the blame for the irresponsible, party-hard conduct that has resulted in the closure of many fraternity chapters in the past few years from the frat members themselves to drunk female guests that get injured, raped or attract police attention at their events.
The full post is no longer available on Forbes, and he was promptly fired upon its discovery. But a cached version is available here and the original article was cataloged in full by Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan. Here's a few choice quotes (emphasis ours):
"Unless and until we address how student drinking culture has evolved in response to the very regulations designed to control it, incidents like this are not going to go away. As recriminations against fraternities mount and panicked college administrators search for an easy out, one factor doesn't seem to be getting sufficient analysis: drunk female guests."
Yes, boozed up males also show up at parties, sometimes mobs of them disturbing the peace on the front steps. But few are allowed in, especially if they are strangers. Plus, it remains socially acceptable for bouncers to eject drunk and rowdy males because our society rarely casts them as sympathetic victims, as opposed to the irresponsible jerks that they are. In our age of sexual equality, why drunk female students are almost never characterized as irresponsible jerks is a question I leave to the feminists. But it is precisely those irresponsible women that the brothers must be trained to identify and protect against, because all it takes is one to bring an entire fraternity system down.
It's not like a dominant culture of victim-blaming causes many women to avoiding reporting alcohol-related rapes or anything like that, right?
Here are the things that worry me most. Any of them could result in organizational extinction, even if the fraternity never served the "victim" a single drop of alcohol:'
Alcohol poisoning due to overconsumption before, during, or after an event. Death or grievous injury as a result of falling down the stairs or off a balcony. Death or grievous injury as a result of a pedestrian or traffic accident as the young lady weaves her way home. False accusation of rape months after the fact triggered by regrets over a drunken hook-up, or anger over a failed relationship. And false 911 calls accusing our members of gang rape during a party in progress. (Yes, this happened, resulting in seven police cars and thirty officers storming the chapter house.)
Frezza seems much more concerned with fake rape claims than real ones. "Crying rape" undoubtedly occurs, but false rape accusations comprise tiny minority of all reported sexual assaults, not to mention the vastly larger number of unreported ones.
Here's some more of the advice Frezza shells out to his "young charges":
Never, ever take a drunk female guest to your bedroom – even if you have a signed contract indicating sexual consent. Based on new standards being promulgated on campus, all consent is null and void the minute a woman becomes intoxicated – even if she is your fiancée. And while a rape charge under these circumstances is unlikely to hold up in a court of law, it doesn't take much for a campus kangaroo court to get you expelled, ruining your life while saddling your fraternity with a reputation for harboring rapists.
Again, while it's certainly terrible that some charges of sexual assault are malicious or otherwise false, the new standards are there to prevent the kind of confusion that could lead to exactly those situations. These new policies explicitly defining consent and the conditions under which it can be given are designed to help people avoid false accusations or rape.
Considering that colleges are notoriously unwilling or unable to investigate claims of sexual assault, the pendulum is so far swung in favor of rapists that this is little more than a paranoid fantasy.
Pre-gaming can be dangerous, but it becomes especially destructive to others in a world that no longer believes in personal responsibility—when a student, male or female, can blame a friend, a host, even a university, for the unfortunate consequences of guzzling half a bottle of booze before joining a party. No nanny administrators or well-meaning risk-managers can fix the situation after an incident has occurred, and besieged fraternity systems are particularly vulnerable. (When has a dorm ever been permanently shut down as a consequence of the residents' folly?)
What about the lack of personal responsibility continually displayed by frat members, causing situations in which guests are continually exposed to unnecessary risk?
In case you were still wondering where Frezza is coming from, he helpfully inserted this breast-heavy photo into the post:
If Frezza was truly concerned about the fate of all these drunk female guests, he might start by being concerned about the pervasive culture of drinking and misogyny that many frats promote. Fraternity men are significantly more likely than the general population to approve of sexual assault, and they're much less willing to intervene to stop an assault than members of sororities. The vast majority of campus gang rapes occur at frat houses, while frat members may be three times as likely as other men to commit sexual assault. As for the drinking, the problem is not guests but the drunken atmosphere at frat houses; a 2006 study of more than 3,000 members of one fraternity concluded that over 86% were regular binge drinkers.
Hem and haw about how all frats are not created equally, but the fact remains that, by combining juvenile attitudes towards sexual assaults with high levels of alcohol consumption, they remain a nexus for sexual assault on college campuses. Sexual assault at frats is so common that they reserve large portions of their reserve funds for related expenses like lawsuits.
Finally, if there's a whole bunch of extremely drunk women at fraternity parties, it's because frats want them there. Frat boys are not sitting around sipping tea, munching on crumpets and obeying the rules before being rudely surprised by carloads of drunk women. Some actively lure women into positions of vulnerability before exploiting them.
For all Frezza's whining that fraternities are being victimized by drunk women, the Greek system remains extraordinarily financially powerful and often deals with universities from a position of power — and that's not even considering the social dominance frats often wield on campus. Frezza may just one person who holds these toxic beliefs, but his thinking reflects a larger problem of rape culture in America. And no one complains louder than people in danger of having their privilege taken away.