Sorority Anti-Rape Idea: Drinking on Own Turf

This was an interesting NY Times piece in such that it examined one of the possible solutions to answering the larger question of what is to be done about rape culture on college campuses: having parties in sororities rather than just fraternities.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/us/sorority-anti-rape-idea-drinking-on-own-turf.html

The story is generally balanced and informative and has a very strong closer that ultimately hints at the larger societal narratives.

With that said, the closer left me feeling duplicitous on how this question was asked: On one level, this was a somewhat novel question to be asked and almost a thought experiment to be played out through the form of an article. On another level, I wonder about the responsibilities of defining a narrative as journalists, especially with the closer. While the article primarily asked women of what their thoughts are on this potential solution, which was an important crux considering this is where the story is, it showed very few male voices and ultimately left a male to be the last and most poignant voice through his terseness to the matter. The article was relatively upbeat and informative up until the last quote and ended abruptly at the hand of a male’s opinion, which seems to tie into a larger societal narrative of how most decisions are sadly made.

It was fascinating quote for the ending because of the layers of narratives and societal implications that it can have and, ultimately, the questions it raises. For me, that’s a satisfying feeling as a reader, to be triggered to ask more questions. For larger audiences that consume media with such immediacy and are rash to reach conclusions especially in such a controversial matter, I wonder if further examination of male attitudes could have made this a better article for a public that isn’t as invested in the nuances of the various cases and only skims headlines in the age of social feeds. Then again, can be really define what people don’t want to read?

What were your thoughts on this article and how it was constructed? What were positives? What was lacking? How did you feel after reading this?

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6 Responses to “Sorority Anti-Rape Idea: Drinking on Own Turf”

  1. I think that this article covers the topic well and in the end leaves the reader thinking.

    With that said, I didn’t like the quote that was chosen to close the article. Although thought provoking, I felt as if the quote made the article as a whole seem more bias toward sororities. It kind of seemed to put frat boys in a suspicious light. “We serve the alcohol, they drink it. ” That sounds rather creepy if you ask me.
    I would have rather the piece closed with an uplifting or encouraging quote from a frat boy. Possibly one that emphasized the fact that sexual assault is intolerable or comment on how fraternities would react to a sorority house party. I think a more encouraging quote would persuade people to consider having sorority parties rather than fraternity parties – if a frat boy thinks its a good idea and that it could potentially have a positive impact on girls’ safety, why shouldn’t a change be initiated?

    Like you said, Joseph, there was a lacking of male quotes in this article. As I said above, I think encouraging quotes regarding to the possible change of party location would have been nice to read. Yes, girls think that this could potentially keep them safe, but what do boys think?

    I liked the fact that the article mentioned many different college campuses. It was nice to see that the author had such a variety in who he/she talked to in regards to this situation. The variety put the article in a bigger light – sexual assault is happening everywhere and there are a wide range of places that could potentially test out solutions. The fact that there was a quote from The University of Michigan made this article even more relateable. It’s nice to see a familiar location in an article as reference.

  2. I thought there was a lot of superfluous information in this article. Anyone who hasn’t been under a rock the last year knows how big of an issue sexual assault on college campuses is: we don’t need a recap of the highest profile incidents over the last few years.

    That being sad, I do think this article’s best positive trait was that it got me thinking as well. I thought, long before it was mentioned in the article, that hosting sorority parties would have the problem of security: who is going to be in charge of kicking out the belligerent drunk?

    Overall, however, I felt like this was not a memorable article. The most interesting point, the sorority that hosts its own parties, was buried at the bottom of the article and there wasn’t much else that really caught my attention.

  3. I like the way the introductory paragraph was handled – for me, it brought me into the mindset of someone who is considering the situation as something that she would potentially have to deal with in person – I’m long past that point of view, and found the reminder helpful. Much of the article seemed repetitive and “preachy” – the points of safety have been gone over many times already, we didn’t need to hear it again, or in such detail. I’m not at all convinced by any of the arguments for changing the party venue, however. Drunken people are unstable and impaired, and are just as likely to misbehave anywhere they’re at. I would have liked to have seen an opinion from police, maybe as the last comment. After all, they’re the ones called in to deal with the worst case scenario…

  4. The article definitely could have been cut down a bit. I agree with John that a lot of the recap of sexual assaults on campus could have been left out. I felt like the article was going in circles talking about the correlation between alcohol, drugs, greek life, and sexual assault, and all the studies and stats that prove it. We know these things are related, and I felt the article could be more focused on the angle presented. In addition, there were too many quotes from too many different people. It felt kind of disconnected and detracted from the story. It’s good to show a that it’s happening everywhere across a variety of campuses across the nation, but I think that’s something people already know. If they had focused on a couple girls and their stories and opinions, humanizing the story, it could have been a stronger article.

    However, I did like the juxtaposition of some of the paragraphs with one about what goes on specifically at frats, and the subsequent paragraph about how it could be at a sorority. It showed instead of told how sorority parties could change the situation.

  5. I agree with what a couple of people have already said about being redundant and talking about a aspects of a topic that has been talked about a lot lately. One thing I would have liked to see more of is how the parties at the one sorority in Dartmouth, Sigma Delta, went. There was a lot of speculation in the article about what a sorority hosted party would look like and yet only two short paragraphs delegated to what it actually was. Elaborating on that case more would have been more interesting for me.

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