How clever!

The fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of Vermont was recently suspended. They circulated a questionnaire to each of their brothers that included the question “If I could rape someone, who would it be?”

I’d like to think this was actually a trick question. You know, like they were trying to filter out all the guys who didn’t answer with “This question is disgusting and I refuse to answer it. I am ashamed to be a part of this fraternity.” How clever would that be?

Sadly, I’m not that optimistic.

Of course, the Men’s Rights Activists still write this off as being just “sick fratboy humor” or worse, a “stand up against misandry” that should be “celebrated.” Sickening since the CDC just released its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which disturbing facts such as:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.
  • More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance; for male victims, more than half (52.4%) reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger.
  • Most female victims of completed rape (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25; 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.
  • More than one-quarter of male victims of completed rape (27.8%) experienced their first rape when they were 10 years of age or younger.

Yeah, not very clever at all.


  1. danielrudolph says

    I think this was actually a trick question, just not in that way. It sounds like a variant on the classic, “If you were gay, what man would you want to sleep with?” If they don’t answer, you gripe at them for not being a sport and assure them it’s only hypothetical. When you get an answer, you make fun of them for wanting to have sex with a guy, so they must be gay. This is likely along the same lines.

  2. says

    Either way, I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t have an opportunity to join this extremely prestigious group of impeccably classy individuals.

  3. danielrudolph says

    See, they weren’t being misogynistic out of the blue, but as a substitute for the more traditional homophobia. That’s almost an improvement.

  4. julian says

    Ok so my last comment was obviously over the line.

    I still can’t help feeling the way I do towards these guys. They get to many passes as is.

    Maybe I’ll go wail on a punching bag or something for a bit until this bout of rage passes.

  5. Chris Lawson says

    Yeah, it’s “sick fratboy humor”. But I don’t understand is why this is supposed to be exculpatory.

  6. mitchelllee says

    Maybe they just wanted to know which righteous fathers might come into some silver money.. 50 silver shekels buys a lot of beer!

  7. says

    As a fratboy myself, I can tell you this type of misogynic behavior is very prominent among the social frats. The problem, of course, is that they protect each other with that bs “bros before hoes” mentality – a mentality that allows rapists to think rape is okay.

  8. julian says

    we nice guys are some of the worse MRA’s out there. Unlike your typical creep we come with a million and one excuses why you should want us. After all, look at tv and sitcoms! We’re the underdogs therefore you should want us.

  9. Retired Prodigy Bill says

    I just don’t get rape, and never have, not even as a horny teenager. I understand violence, I’ve defended myself in a couple of incidents involving deadly weapons, and I’ve served in the military. And I sure as hell understand being attracted to women who don’t want anything to do with me. And I’ve been known, in my heart of hearts, to fantasize a bit about how much better the world would be without certain people (both male and female) in it.

    But I don’t get the appeal of violence+sex+unwilling partner. Where, exactly, is the pleasure supposed to be? What the fuck is the attraction? Given the statistics on rape there have to be a lot of XY who feel rape is acceptable behavior. How the hell do people pick up this defect?

  10. F says

    I won’t cross-post my rant from The X Blog, but this really pisses me off. It is idiotic, warped, and disgusting.

  11. Leo says

    The sexual violence survey only counts being penetrated as rape, and counts separately being made to penetrate someone (1 in 21 male respondents reported they had been made to penetrate someone). So the “1 in 71 men have been raped” figure is misleading, because it doesn’t include them.

    …don’t tell me people who spend more time defending this fraternity than thinking about that are fighting misandry.

  12. says

    In most cases, frat houses should be treated like roach hotels. If your dumb enough to go in and rush, you should be able to come out into society again.

  13. Azkyroth says

    And, surprise surprise, it appears that female-on-male rape IS NOT SOMETHING THAT MEN JUST MAKE UP TO GET OUT OF PAYING CHILD SUPPORT!

    (Yeah, I’m still pissed about that. >.>)

  14. julian says

    Yeah, rape myths hurt everyone. They predispose us to ignore rape by trying to tack on entirely cliched ideas of what ‘real’ rape is.

    I’m sorry you went through that. Using trauma done to you to further malign you during a divorce is truly beyond low.

  15. Svlad Cjelli says

    As a secondary technical term, I hope? I suppose Alduin keeps getting one-shotted at Master difficulty now-a-days.

  16. Azkyroth says

    Heh, no, it wasn’t quite that bad. We had a commenter here who got banned on the old site for smugly insisting that and a few similar things, though, and it was a really triggering conversation for other reasons; I’d link to the thread but the comments on the old site all disappeared and apparently FreethoughtBlogs isn’t set up to include comments in text searches, so I haven’t had time to go back and find it.

  17. Tom Singer says

    Would it be equally offensive to ask, who would you kill? Or to play a round of marry, fuck, kill? I ask because I react very negativly to the rape question, but I’m totally ok with the other two, and I’m not sure why. Certainly murder is at least as much a violation as rape, right? Has to be something to do with the typical power dynamic in a rape, which is why we react so strongly to killing a kid, or raping a kid. So, if it’s power dynamics, is it less offensive if we swap the frat for a sorority?

  18. Scott says

    I am in no way condoning the actions of these frat boy losers, and I wonder if perhaps the university should consider disciplinary action against the heads of the fraternity. I do wonder about the accuracy of the 1 in 5 females being raped statistic. While I don’t expect all female rape victims I am acquainted with to share with me that they have been raped, I would think if the prevalence is really this high, I would at least know of a few rape victims among my personnel friends. I looked at the CDC study, and there is no place where they directly ask the survey respondents if they have been raped. I also cannot find what the study defines as rape. This leads me to believe that the study is deciding who has been raped based on the answers to the questions. I just happened to read the following yesterday,
    which raises some interesting points about similar studies. I am not saying the CDC study is wrong, but I am not convinced of it’s accuracy as of yet, especially when there are other studies that show the number to be a lower (though still completely, unacceptably too high) number. Any thoughts?

  19. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The power dynamic, existing sexism… and the fact that although it’s relatively unusual to be murdered, being raped is disturbingly common. See the study above. So someone speculating about murder is likely to be taken as someone doing speculation, nothing more. But since rape really is very common, it’s not so easy to assume that he doesn’t mean what he’s saying.

  20. julian says

    Please stop pretending you care or are even mildly interested in the study. You don’t believe this study is accurate. You believe it’s inflating the numbers and that it should be dismissed. That you’re citing Sommers (who objects to classifying ‘sex’ gained from threats of and from actual violence as rape) says enough.

    I also cannot find what the study defines as rape.

    Try non-consensual sex.

  21. julian says

    I think the context makes ‘who would you kill’ entirely inappropriate and very threatening. The answers are going to be either students or teachers and however much you might simply be venting and however unlikely it is you may carry through with that threat it is still a threat and not something someone responsible for the campus safety should ignore.

    ‘Who would you rape’ takes it to an even moe threatening extreme because while murder may be hard to commit, rape is not. Nor is getting acquitted. And that’s ignoring the kind of hostile atmosphere this would create for (let’s be honest) the female population.

  22. eigenperson says

    Perhaps the “kill” question is less offensive because one can provide an answer like Hitler, where one can imagine that a normally reprehensible action (killing) would in this case be justifiable.

    It’s difficult to see how the question “Who would you rape” invites such an answer.

  23. Azkyroth says

    If 1 in 4 women were murdered at some point in her life, 30% of them murdered more than once, and yet the conviction rate for murder was about 5% and most people questioned whether it “really counted” as murder in most circumstances and insisted it was victims’ responsibility to prevent their being murdered, it might be comparable.

    As it stands…

  24. Azkyroth says

    That’s another good point. There are in fact situations where killing someone is necessary to prevent a far greater evil; it’s basically impossible to come up with one where that applies to rape.

  25. Azkyroth says

    I would suggest that your inclination to second-guess rape statistics and quibble over what “counts” as rape, and your female friends’ failing to share any experiences of rape they may have with you, are probably related.

  26. says

    I have dealt with in other debates. It appears to be some cross between a Christofascist think-tank and diploma mill — suffice to say, all they put out is “moral majority” tobacco science, though when I last dealt with them it was homophobic rather than rape-apologetic.

    Either way, it’s a shitty source. Find something better and then we’ll talk.

  27. julian says

    Try non-consensual sex. -me

    Actually, let me take that back. The study doesn’t include instances of being forced to penetrate someone else as rape (though it does track them) so that’s a bit misleading.

  28. julian says

    Not disagreeing with you but many people seem to think rape is ok if the person is really bad or evil. It, in my opinion, seems to stem from their belief evil should be punished. The more evil the more pain they should suffer and rape is as painful and damaging an act you can inflict on someone else.

    The rationalization is most often applied to criminals who are sent to prison but I have heard someone Marines I know say if a woman tried to kill them they’d be willing to ‘rape the bitch.’

  29. MalWright says

    Danielrudolph said the change from anti-gay to anti-women was “almost” an improvement, i.e. it was not actually an improvement.
    I suppose the only possible upside of this change is that I can finish my oppression-based bingo card faster. I’d already crossed out “I’m Just Trying To Protect Traditional Marriage” and “I’m Not Homophobic, But…” after listerning to DOMA supporters, but now I get to cross out “Rape Apologetics” and “I’m Just Standing Up To Evil Feminists”.

  30. ohioobserver says

    Assholes. And I mean all the MRA’s who think this is cute. And here’s why: there ARE men’s rights issues that need attention. Like getting legitimately earned custody of your children. Like getting your employer to give you paid time off to care for your kids. Like being sure that alimony is awarded in a fair and equitable way. Instead of advocating for these legal-standing issues, these blowhards (at least the ones that show up on the internet) take out their dicks and wave them around, glorifying/excusing rape and the most heinous, misogynistic violence. They should do some good or STFU. Thanks to Jen and others for showing the world their stupidity.

  31. says

    And here’s why: there ARE men’s rights issues that need attention. Like getting legitimately earned custody of your children. Like getting your employer to give you paid time off to care for your kids. Like being sure that alimony is awarded in a fair and equitable way.

    And the sad thing is a lot of these things are directly related to women’s rights and feminists would most likely be allies, not enemies.

    That isn’t their agenda, though. They aren’t interested in making the world a better, fairer place for all of us. They seem primarily interested in legitimizing child porn and ensuring that rapists aren’t held accountable for their crimes. And sammiches. There is a strange and pervasive obsession with sammiches.

  32. Azkyroth says

    They seem primarily interested in legitimizing child porn

    Should I be thankful I haven’t even heard of this branch? :/

  33. Siobhan says

    Just noting here (I haven’t read through all the comments). A young friend of mine’s boyfriend was in that fraternity, and I’ve heard (third hand, so not necessarily a great source) that most of the guys in the frat are angry about the question itself, and also angry that they’re being deprived of their frat for the actions of someone who doesn’t have the guts to come forward. I told her I was dubious that it was just one person who added this question, and that no one else knew who did it. She agreed it was unlikely but that whoever did it and whoever knows isn’t stepping forward. She did make a point of saying her boyfriend wasn’t party to this (which seems likely, he’s only just started college this year, so he’s likely just a pledge). I chose not to say any more to her about this because she’s clearly feeling a little more for her boyfriend’s misfortune at this point, but she was also outraged by the question, itself. I think she might be struggling a bit internally with the issues.

  34. Maria says

    I guess this kind of defect, if genetically determined, would be successful in evolution, since rapist-guys throughout history would have had more children than guys who find raping disgusting. This way, the genes of rapist would spread widely in human populations. The dark side of natural selection.

  35. Azkyroth says

    Well, not necessarily, since natural selection operates on behaviors that produce *surviving* offspring and having traumatic memories brought back every time one looks at one’s child isn’t going to be particularly conducive to effective parental care. I suspect this has a lot to do with why woman-hating fuckheads are generally so adamantly anti-choice…

  36. Clarence says

    Would you rather the Marine kill her?
    Bad as rape is, I consider it only the second worst crime. Murder is the worst because it is forever.

  37. Clarence says


    No one cares. They are making an example of the frat, because to a lot of these people frats are guilty before proven innocent. Yes, if it was one goofus he could have been expelled from the Frat, and that would have been enough. Instead the whole frat was shut down, largely on the complaints of people who claim to be “marginalized” and “powerless”.

    One can laugh, but one can’t believe that.

  38. julian says

    Oh please.

    When you fuck up this bad, there are repercussions. Adults should understand that. Only children (and frat boys, apparently) insist they not be held accountable for their fuck ups.

Leave a Reply