Commending Ohio University fraternities for standing up for sexual assault victims


Kernel Opinion SIG

On Sept. 12, the Ohio University Interfraternity Council, a group that has represented fraternities at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, since 1841, according to their Twitter, tweeted images of fraternity houses across its campus with banners hanged from their balconies. Banners, with words showing support for sexual assault victims and how important consent is, were displayed for all of campus to see. It’s since gone viral.

Now with 25,000 retweets, 91,000 favorites and more than 170 mentions, this tweet has now reached more than just Ohio University’s campus, and for a good reason.

“Stand with survivors,” “Consent is BAE #BeforeAnythingElse #AthensTogetHER,” “’No’ does not mean ‘convince me’” and “It is not consent if they are too afraid to say no,” were a few of the banners featured in the viral tweet.

Rarely has support for sexual assault victims and consent been displayed in this manner, right on front of fraternity housing, on campuses, but it’s a wonderful sight to see. Fraternities should stand up for victims and consent in a visual and verbal manner, as everyone should, but with the stigmatization of fraternities on college campuses high, the fraternities that participated at Ohio University took a large leap forward for Greek life.

Nearly every day now, it seems as if someone comes forward with a sexual assault, rape or abuse story. This is becoming an epidemic, if it isn’t already one, but this explicit form of advocacy for victims and consent at Ohio University is a step all fraternities should follow; it’s time the entire Greek life system becomes advocates.

Education on this subject is one of the biggest ways to prevent these tragedies. Displaying signs that detail what consent really is, “’No’ does not mean ‘convince me,’” and of non-victim blaming, “Stand with survivors,” is a step of further education.

Women and men who are victims of sexual abuse want to be heard; they want their stories listened to, to be respected and to know they never have to listen to future women and men utter similar instances. They want to know we stand in solidarity; that we support and believe one another.