The American academic year is off to a strong start. In the country where the MeToo movement began, there is still much to do. To demolish a system based on the abuse of power it was necessary to target the elites, and the university fraternities (famous for their legendary parties marked by alcohol, drugs and sex) have become the next target.
More than 14,700 people signed a petition to close the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Kansas and more than 1,000 have demonstrated demanding justice for the latest violation that took place on September 11. The Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was temporarily suspended with a history of 13 reported rapes, to which others would be made invisible. Many victims are not sure that they have been raped because they cannot remember it. They are frequently drugged with Rohypnol, known as Roof O the drug of rapists, because it is colorless and odorless and easily goes unnoticed in any drink. (Javier Gutiérrez tells it in A good boy; Random House Literature, 2012). In many cases, if both the perpetrator and the student have drunk alcohol, the violation is dismissed.
In September 2020, a student at the University of Iowa reported that she had been drugged and raped during a Fiji fraternity party. The rapists recorded a video that they later shared in a group chat. Despite audiovisual and DNA evidence, the case did not go to court and the defendants remained unpunished. A year later, Iowa students have taken to the streets for justice and more than 474,000 people have signed a petition demanding the permanent closure of the fraternity across the country. “I sign because my best friend was sexually abused and no one did anything,” someone anonymously exposes. You can also read various testimonies of raped women.
There are currently 305 open files, with Cornell, Princeton and Stanford being the universities with the highest rate of complaints of sexual violence. Fraternity scandals are covered up because education is one of the most profitable businesses in the US. Studying a career at a good university can cost between $ 40,000 and $ 78,000 annually (between about 34,000 and about 66,500 euros) and it is common for some couples open a savings account for their future child as soon as the woman becomes pregnant. No university wants to risk tarnishing its honor by acknowledging that children from upper-class families become criminals on its campus. On the other hand, with the payment of these astronomical amounts, many families have the tacit agreement of “discretion”. Fraternities are the cradle of elites: according to The Atlantic, 85% of the members of the Supreme Court and 69% of the presidents of the United States have been members of some fraternity.
However, social pressure is getting stronger. The movie A promising young woman (2020), nominated for five Oscars and winner of one for the screenplay by Emerald Fennell, was a great speaker of denunciation. In it, Carey Mulligan plays the main character, a young woman who gives her life in exchange for justice. In real life the victims also begin to speak: Chanel Miller published a book recounting her experience, and Emma Sulkowicz exhibited the mattress where she was allegedly raped at Columbia University. Called the performance Carry this weight.