Yale Fraternity Pledges Say “No Means Yes” and “Yes” Means … What?

BlogHer Original Post

Yale Welcome Sign via Flickr I say ‘Yale’, you may think prestigious university or intelligent, young minds. You may also now think: condones rape.

Last Wednesday, October 13th, pledges of Yale fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon marched blindfolded through Yale’s old campus, where many of the university’s freshmen female students are housed, chanting “No means yes, yes means anal.” A video of the pledging ritual hit YouTube later that night and has since received over 30,000 views and an uproar of community responses.

The video doesn’t show another of the pledges’ chants: “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f--k dead women” — but I think one sexually berating video is more than enough.

Yale feminist magazine Broad Recognition released an article that Thursday calling for Yale to “take action on behalf of its female students.”

DKE President Jordan Forney has since made various public apologies via Yale’s campus newspaper and during a campus forum, organized in response to the fraternity’s actions. He calls Wednesday’s event “a serious lapse in judgment by the fraternity and in very poor taste.” Forney further stated that DKE does not condone sexual violence, and Wednesday’s actions are not representative of the members of the fraternity.

College Dean Mary Miller spoke at this forum, organized and attended by the fraternity, Yale Women’s Center and members of Yale administration, addressing the “disturbing and appalling” actions of the fraternity and acknowledging the collective desire to “get beyond” this type of behavior and speech.

Yale isn’t the only Ivy League drawing media attention for female degradation. The recent movie The Social Network, which depicts the alleged back story of social networking site Facebook and its creator and former Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, portrays the female student body in a way that calls to question their presence in the college scene.

Blogger Marina DelVecchio wrote a recent post addressing the movie’s representation of young women in respect to these fraternities questioning “Who teaches girls that it is OK to sell themselves short in this way — to fall victim to men’s sexual desires? ... Who is teaching empowerment and self-reliance?”

My experience with college Greek life is mostly limited to what I’ve seen on television and in my friends’ Facebook pictures. In my head, frat parties involve keg stands and table dancing and sorority houses are reminiscent of Legally Blonde. The friends I have that are involved in Greek life express an overall consensus of brother and sisterhood, saying they become a family. And who wouldn’t want that — a safety net of peers who provide unconditional support. But in my family, and I would assume most other families, sexual assault isn’t an inside joke. Since when does encouraging your brothers to laugh at rape constitute as bonding?

And this is the generation of youth I am associated with — these are my peers. These are my peers that will be graduating from some of the most highly-esteemed universities with intentions to be lawyers and doctors and political figures. These are my classmates that have the capability to ignite inspiration with their ideas and whose words have the potential to evoke passion and progression. And these are the words they choose to be heard?

I want to be proud of the way my generation uses their voices. I want to be inspired by justice — not jaded by ignorance.

Are you shocked by the frat boys’ behavior or less than surprised? What sort of repercussions do you think are in order?

Photo Credit: Hapinachu via Flickr.


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