Melissa L. Barnes, M.S., https://doi.org/0000-0002-8745-0287 is a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon. Melissa’s research interests include campus sexual violence, perpetrator responses to confrontations, Black women’s traumatic experiences, and discriminatory police violence. She is also concerned with the direct and indirect effects of systemic discrimination on experiences of sexual violence.
Alexis A. Adams-Clark, M.S., https://doi.org/0000-0002-2273-1336 is a doctoral student in the University of Oregon's Clinical Psychology program. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Gender and Women's Studies at Connecticut College. Her research broadly focuses on the psychological and physical effects of sexual assault and harassment.
Marina N. Rosenthal, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist who has delivered clinical services in a variety of environments, including the VA system, college counseling, community mental health, and private practice. Dr. Rosenthal specializes in working with couples on topics such as communication, conflict, disconnection, and infidelity. She also provides evidence-based trauma treatments to individuals and couples. Her research interests include institutional betrayal, sexual violence on college campuses, sexual harassment, sexual communication, trauma therapies, and dissociation.
Carly P. Smith, PhD, https://doi.org/0000-0003-1980-0836is a clinical psychologist in private practice at Abri Radically Open DBT in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in working with medical professionals and LGBTQ clientele in her practice.
Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9650-9199 is the Founder and President of the Center for Institutional Courage, Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, and Faculty Affiliate of the VMware Women's Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University. She is also a Member of the Advisory Committee, 2019-2023, for the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Freyd is known for her theories of betrayal trauma, institutional betrayal, institutional courage, and DARVO. She researches these topics in the context of institutional behavior, sexual violence, discrimination on the basis of gender, minority status, and sexual orientation, and also disclosures of abuse.
The purpose of this manuscript is to examine the risk of sexual exploitation (both assault and harassment) associated with sorority and fraternity membership on U.S. college campuses. The results from this study come from data collected through an online survey. Participants (N=883) at a large Pacific Northwestern university provided information related to their sorority or fraternity membership, experiences of sexual violence (i.e., assault and harassment), and alcohol use. We both replicated and extended past research. Corroborating prior research, Greek-affiliated students experienced higher rates of sexual assault than non-affiliated students. We extended past research by focusing on sexual harassment experiences within the Greek life culture. Both male and female Greek-affiliated students reported higher rates of sexual harassment particularly unwanted sexual attention, compared to their non-Greek-affiliated peers. We also found that both sorority membership and alcohol-related problems predicted unique variance in women’s exposure to nonconsensual sexual contact, attempted/completed rape, and unwanted sexual attention. Fraternity membership but not alcohol-related problems predicted unique variance in men’s exposure to nonconsensual sexual contact and unwanted sexual attention. Implications discussed include the short- and long-term consequences of Greek-affiliation, institutional betrayal, and addressing sexual exploitation within this culture. Also identified are limitations of the current study and future directions for research on sexual exploitation within Greek life.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Barnes, Melissa L.; Adams-Clark, Alexis; Rosenthal, Marina N.; Smith, Carly P.; and Freyd, Jennifer J.
"Pledged into Harm: Sorority and Fraternity Members Face Increased Risk of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment,"
Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol6/iss1/9
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