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Op-ed

The Power and Privilege of the White Frat Boy

Jacob Walter Anderson accepted a plea deal on Monday. This meant he would not be registered as a sex offender, and would not serve any jail time after being accused of leading a drunk girl in a secluded area, raping her repeatedly, and leaving her face down to suffocate in her own vomit. He was a former president of Baylor University fraternity, and the judge reportedly has been lenient on cases  over the years involving men being accused of sexually assaulting University students

This is one of the most recent cases of white fraternity boys raping girls. Statistics have shown that men who join fraternities are three times more likely to rape than those who do not, and one in five college women will be sexually assaulted in the four years of attending undergraduate. While that does not mean that every fraternity member rapes college women and every college woman is sexually assaulted, these statistics show what has been currently occurring in American colleges.

The infamous Brock Turner case is where the power of white fraternity boys became explicit. He excused his actions of assaulting a drunk woman in a secluded area by blaming the party culture in Stanford and alcohol. The judge ruled Turner could not go to jail, for it would cause a “severe impact” and “adverse collateral consequences.”

Another case, where a 16-year-old girl claimed to be raped by a 19-year-old University of South Florida fraternity member was dropped recently due to the prosecutors claiming they were not confident on convincing the jury of him being guilty.  

Yet another case, where an 18-year-old woman claimed to be raped by a Washington State University fraternity member was dropped because of how the victim behaved that night with being excessively drunk and making sexual advances to other men at a party. 

In these cases, the perpetrators are white fraternity men who took advantage of women and got away with it with limited punishment.

In some cases, there is honesty about sexual assault. A former Georgia Tech fraternity president admitted to repeatedly raping his girlfriend, and was ordered not to ever contact his girlfriend or her family, and was registered as a sex offender. Another case where former Temple University fraternity president was accused of sexually assaulting two different people is being processed now. 

To some that is not enough. Some people are calling to ban fraternities completely. While not all men who join fraternities become sexual predators, the fraternity community to some are based on sexual violence. To others, fraternities need to be held responsible. One victim while her claimed attacker was expelled from the school, claimed the fraternity knew he was a serial rapist and should have protected her more

How universities and fraternities handle sexual assault allegations differs. But what has never differed is the free pass that white fraternity men tend to have in these cases. The free pass that includes the privilege to avoid facing a serious consequence for their actions and the power to impact a person’s life and control the perception of how others’ view them. 

Photo: Evan IP

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Mia Boccher
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