The spike in sexual assault within Purdue Greek life has led sorority women to create an Instagram account and LinkTree website to expose rape and its trivialization on-campus.
The initial focus on Greek Life led some upset Purdue Exponent followers to Facebook, where they asserted “what’s going on is … rich kids drinking and screwing…” Or that it was “singling out one issue and turning a blind eye to the others.”
This pattern of movements lacking intersectionality at inception is nothing new. As women’s studies professor at George Washington University Ashwini Tambe explains, despite sexual violence being an intersectional issue, “white women’s pain … is centered in popular media coverage” (177). A fact corroborated by the Women’s Suffrage Movement or the 2017 MeToo movement which centered on white women.
Nonetheless, these movements spurred successive intersectional goals. Likewise, the #MeToo Purdue movement broadened their focus on Oct. 1, explaining their advocacy for sexual violence campus-wide.
This response expanded their original concern for the euphemistic “rich kids” “drinking and screwing,” that “[turned] a blind eye to … others.” Even yet, the original intent was beneficial due to Greek life’s systemic issues.
Sororities to this day have policies that perpetuate sexual violence. All sororities affiliated with the National Panhellenic Council are not allowed to throw parties in their houses, forcing them to function at fraternities, thereby placing sororities at the will of fraternities in party settings, even in alcohol distribution.
As Tambe’s previously referenced piece explains, sexual violence often occurs when perpetrators have power over the victims (177). This party setting power play in Greek life is why “men in fraternities are three times more likely to commit sexual assault.”
Ultimately, while the movement’s inclusivity efforts are important, Greek life’s antiquated policies aggravate sexual assault internally. To achieve the change the Purdue movement seeks, we must revise the system.
-Reagan Sanders, College of Liberal Arts