When parents send their kids off to college, they’re taking a lot of risks. Probably no more risks than if their teen hopped into the car and took a drive to the mall, but as they install their son or daughter into their dorm and wave goodbye, they’re still betting on a lot. Not just the hope that they’ll keep those grades up and do good on those student loans, but that they’ll behave responsibly, keep the partying to a minimum, and of course not violate one another.
So what exactly would you do if you learned that your college-aged son was sent an email from his fraternity asking who he would like to rape? That’s the question the parents of the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of Vermont should be asking themselves, as the brothers sent out a survey with that exact question.
The survey contains other questions like “where in public would I like to have sex?” and “Who’s my favorite artist?” Sarah M. at safercampus.org tells readers that she receives “a lot of gross stuff” at her blog with regards to the nonchalance of rape. But she notes that dropping in your rape victim preference a long with spots for consensual sex and musical preference is particularly “disturbing”:
…the contrast here makes this particularly jarring and offensive. It’s not the usual litany of purposefully offensive garbage; it’s a seemingly legit, “normal” survey with this one horrifying nuggets thrown in at the end. The normalization of the question—the nonchalance—is so…disturbing.
Feminists of UVM have created a petition in response to the survey asking their university to disband Sigma Phi Epsilon as a “concerted action to combat sexism and rape culture.” According to the petition, the student body has endured “multiple sexual assaults” over the last year alone. And given that UVM upholds student organizations that casually propose sexual violation, it’s pretty easy to discern why.