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

By Peggy Reeves Sanday | Go to book overview

Four
Other Victims, Other Campuses

Gang rapes like the XYZ Express appear to be part of a widespread sexual pattern found on college campuses throughout the United States. Barry Burkhart, a rape researcher and counselor at Auburn University, estimates that he has talked with two dozen students since 1974 who said they had been gang raped. Claire Walsh, who has conducted seminars at nearly every university in the Southeast as Director of the Sexual Assault Recovery Service, says that gang rape is a regular event on every college campus. Bernice Sandler, Executive Director of the Project on the Status and Education of Women for the Association of American Colleges, has found more than seventy-five documented cases of gang rape on college campuses in the past six years (Atlanta Constitution, 7 June 1988). Because a cloak of secrecy usually surrounds the incidence of gang rape on college campuses, the actual incidence may be much higher than reported. The testimony presented to the hearing examiner at U. that “trains” occur approximately once or twice a month gives us some idea as to the actual incidence. The latter testimony as well as the fraternity's reaction to the XYZ incident also demonstrates the belief that “trains” are part of normal sexual behavior.

Information on specific cases is difficult to collect. The case of the XYZ Express is unique because the victim, together with Anna and feminists at U., resisted the brothers' definition of the event and publicly named it rape. But resistance has occurred in other cases as well, and it is now possible to construct a profile of gang rape on college campuses.

This chapter describes three cases from widely different geographic locations of the country. In each case a common pattern is discernible. The incident begins with drinking or drugs and male conspiracy in finding, trapping or coercing, and sharing a “party girl.” A vulnerable young woman, one who is seeking acceptance or who is high on drugs or alcohol, is taken to a room. She may or may not agree to have sex

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