Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood, and Privilege on Campus

By Peggy Reeves Sanday | Go to book overview

One
Campus Party Culture
For entering students college represents a break from the restrictions of high school and family life. College life provides not only the means to prepare for a profession and develop intellectual skills but also the opportunity for developing independence and forging a self. Among the social traditions of interest to entering students is the sexual culture and the opportunities this culture offers for sexual expression. On many campuses the sexual culture includes the notion that sexual exploitation is part of normal male sexual expression.In recent years we have learned a great deal about the prevalence of acquaintance rape on college campuses (see Warshaw 1988 for a summary of numerous studies). The most comprehensive study was conducted by Mary Koss and her colleagues in the mid-eighties. This national study of 6,159 students enrolled in thirty-two institutions of higher education in the United States reported that nearly half of the over three thousand women students surveyed had experienced some form of sexual coercion since the age of fourteen (see Koss et al. 1987). These women respondents reported several different types of sexually coercive behaviors. For example,
44 percent of them reported that they had “given in to sex play (fondling, kissing, or petting, but not intercourse) when [they] didn't want to because [they] were overwhelmed by a man's continual arguments and pressures”;
15 percent said they had experienced attempted intercourse by threat of force;
12 percent said they had experienced attempted intercourse by the use of alcohol or drugs;
25 percent said they had sexual intercourse because they “were overwhelmed by a man's continual arguments and pressure”;
9 percent said they had experienced sexual intercourse because of the threatened or actual use of physical force;

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