Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
How can brotherhoods create a space where men can talk openly about sexual violence?
This was one of the issues broached on Wednesday night at DU’s open discussion on the roles that brotherhoods and men’s groups can have in preventing sexual violence.
The discussion was moderated by Alex Ginsberg ’08. Though DU did not formally invite other brotherhoods to join, members from ABLE and Sixteen Feet were present.
One concern raised during the discussion was how members of a group should deal with a friend who is accused of sexual violence. Some suggestions given were to just listen and be supportive, to hear both sides of the matter, and to refrain from taking a stance without knowing all the evidence.
“Our approach has been working towards concrete steps against sexual violence.”
DU has taken several steps in the past year and a half against sexual violence. New members must attend an assault prevention workshop, and the fraternity recently amended its constitution and code of conduct to condemn such acts. According to Ginsberg, the idea for this discussion “came about at the end of last semester.”
“This is the very beginning,” said Ginsberg. “Our approach has been working towards concrete steps against sexual violence. With this talk we were throwing around some ideas and hoping to get more ideas.”
During the discussion, several DU members mentioned feeling as if they were on the defensive about issues of sexual assault as a result of being a member of a fraternity. Some members voiced their concerns that the Swarthmore community would see DU’s stance against sexual violence as a public relations move instead of a genuine act.
At the end of the discussion, Ginsberg asked for suggestions on how to involve the greater male community in talking about preventing sexual violence.
“It’s important to go public and make the large gestures,” said Ginsberg.