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Another factor in the male victim’s reluctance to come forward is the lack of protection afforded by some state laws. Originally, rape law was “common law”– rape involved penile-vaginal penetration of a woman, not the perpetrator’s wife, by force. These laws changed in the 1970s. All states enacted statutes that included spouses as victims. Most adopted gender-neutral laws that defined rape as sexual assault without regard to gender and included penetration of any body part and with any instrument. These changes, however, did not always include shield laws to protect male victims. Without shield law protection, male rape victims can be forced to reveal prior sexual activity. Male victims may be forced to testify about prior sexual activity, raising “reasonable doubt” in juries that hear of previous same-sex activities. This lack of protection discourages many male victims from turning to the legal system for help. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have gender-neutral rape laws. In 13 states a male cannot be a rape victim. Male rape is often criminalized as “deviate sexual intercourse,” “crime against nature,” “sodomy,” or something similar. Shield laws do not protect these male victims and the penalty for conviction is less severe than it is for rape. Male victims lack a strong support network. Support groups are centered on female victims as a result of the progress of the women’s movement publicizing the issue and in receiving governmental funding. Little funding is available to train professionals and volunteers for the five to 10 percent of victims who are male (Scarce, 1997). In addition, the male rapist profile is that of a white male in his early to mid-20s who is usually heterosexual. “His motivation is to overpower, humiliate and degrade his victim rather than one of lust, passion, or sexual desire” (Scarce, p 17-18). These factors explain why so many male on male rapes occur in all-male environments. Athletic teams, prisons, the military, and fraternities are all institutions where the exertion of power and masculinity are paramount (Scarce, 1997). This reasoning helps explain why sexual assault on females is so often tied to all-male environments with access to women: athletics, the military, and fraternities. Over the years, many experts have indicated that fraternities are a natural place to expect sexual assault on females. Many writers and speakers have used the oft-quoted but undocumented statistic that the most dangerous place for a female to be on a college campus is in a fraternity house. Peggy Reeves Sanday (1990), a University of Pennsylvania

anthropology professor, premised in her controversial book, Fraternity Gang Rape, that the social psychology of fraternities led to homoerotic feelings that resulted in homophobic behavior and the assault of women. That environment combined with hazing is a cause of male sexual assault in fraternities. Why? Often hazing during pledging is designed to humiliate and debase new members. They are told to honor, respect, and trust their senior brothers. They, and often the hazers, are plied with alcohol, which reduces inhibitions and the ability of a victim to recognize and defend against dangerous situations. “Modern hazing, however, is the phenomenon of members taking tests out of the realm of symbolism and catapulting them into reality. Instead of the initiate being threatened with torture to prove his fraternal worth and manliness, he is actually tortured” (Jones 2002, p. 57). Sanday posited that the purpose of these activities is to “feminize” the pledge (as a “cleansing” ritual) and then teaching them to do the same to subsequent pledge classes. What “feminizes” a young man more than to be the unwilling recipient of a sexual assault by another male? Campus professionals must understand that the problem of male-on-male sexual assault is not new, it is merely beginning to receive needed exposure. A dialogue must begin among fraternity/sorority professionals about this subject to begin to de-stigmatize it. It is my hope that this article will start that dialogue.  – J udge Mitch Crane is a speaker with CAMPUSPEAK.

REFERENCES Department of Justice (2003). National crime victims survey. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Vital Statistics. Jones, R L. (2004). Black haze. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Nicoletti, J., Spencer-Thomas, S., & Bollinger, C. (2001). Violence goes to college. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher; Ltd. Preble, J. M., & Groth, N. (2002) Male victims of same-sex abuse. Townson, MD: Sidran Press. Sanday, P. R. (1990). Fraternity gang rape. New York: New York University Press. Scarce, M. (1997) Male on male rape: The hidden toll of stigma and shame. Jackson, TN: Perseus Publishing. Schwartz, P., & Rutter, V. (1998). The gender of sexuality: The gender line. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Peer Network Leaders Annual Meeting 2006 The following individuals gave their time in New Orleans to assist first time attendees navigate the Annual Meeting. Many thanks for their guidance and support of AFA’s first timers! Olivia E. Acosta Northwestern State University Robyn Oates Brock Florida State University Michelle Castro University of Miami Marsha Carrasco Cooper Washburn University Dean Harwood George Washington University J.D. Louk Florida International University Gentry McCreary Middle Tennessee State University Lynne (McCaul) Miller Marietta College Shelly Reynolds Wittenberg Sabrina Ryan Lehigh University Josh Schutts Centre College Carrie Smith Middle Tennessee State University Michael Steele Roanoke College Allison Swick-Duttine SUNY Plattsburgh Andrea Webber Lehigh University Carrie Whittier Virginia Commonwealth University Michael Wolford Beta Theta Pi

Winter 2007 / Perspectives

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Profile for Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors

AFA Perspectives Winter 2007  

Perspectives provides a forum for research, innovative ideas, and information related to the advisement of fraternal organizations. It promo...

AFA Perspectives Winter 2007  

Perspectives provides a forum for research, innovative ideas, and information related to the advisement of fraternal organizations. It promo...

Profile for afa1976