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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Friday, September 18, 2015 08:11 AM, by Leslie Fasone
Sexual violence is nearing epidemic status; it's estimated that one in five college women will experience sexual assault during her undergraduate experience. To work toward stopping it, we must consider tactics to change the culture. Not only what should we not do (like unintentionally blame victims or focus all of our attention on ways to "stay safe"), we need to consider what it is that we can do to create a culture that supports survivors and challenges perpetrators.

Here are some tangible steps you can take to overcome myths that support and reinforce rape-supportive culture:

  • When your friends or organization is planning an event with a theme that is discriminatory toward women or a culture, or simply put, is negative toward women, come up with an alternate (yet fun!) idea that is appropriate. You can address this issue head on, but also come up with a more creative theme that builds others up instead of putting others down.

  • When you hear someone make a comment such as "Well, she was really drunk," or "She hooks up with people all the time," challenge those comments. You can say something like, "Being drunk does not give someone permission to touch you without your consent," or "She/he can choose to hook up consensually however often s/he wants, but consent must always be present during sexual activity."

  • Place posters and information about sexual assault around your living area. Include information about campus and community resources available to students, where to go for help or how to report an incident, and upcoming events for students to get involved in prevention efforts. Sharing information and resources helps raise awareness and also connects students with resources.

We encourage you to pay close attention to the environment around you. How does that environment promote an unsafe environment or a rape-supportive culture? What can you do to create a place where sexual assault is not ok, or where sexual assault survivors are not blamed at all? It is never someone's fault for being assaulted. It is the fault of the perpetrator and the individuals helping to facilitate the assault. Help us change the culture with everyday tangible actions and by getting involved in prevention efforts to create a movement supporting women, and challenging the current culture in which we live.

Leslie Fasone, Beta/Indiana, is Indiana University’s assistant dean for women's and gender affairs and a doctoral candidate in Health Behavior.

Posted On: Friday, August 28, 2015 08:10 AM, by Melissa Shaub
The statistics are staggering. While numbers may vary slightly between the U.S. and Canada, many articles have been published indicating as high as 20% (that's one in five) college women will experience sexual violence during her undergraduate career. The Centers for Disease Control define sexual violence as "a sexual act committed against someone without that person's freely given consent." You may think that definition is broad and you are right; it encompasses rape, assault, harassment and more. We also know the news doesn't get much better; in both countries, reporting rates are low and research tells us survivors are far more likely to suffer from additional health issues like alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

While it can certainly feel overwhelming when reading through the statistics, it is important to us to be informed and also discuss our ability to make a difference on such an important issue. Recently, Theta developed a statement about sexual violence that will guide our work to empower our members to be leaders in campus safety. Hence, Kappa Alpha Theta:

  • Supports survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence.

  • Is committed to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts.

  • Does not support events contributing to the objectification/sexualization of groups of people, including women, or the reinforcement of negative gender roles.

  • Works to connect members to resources to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual violence, as well as resources for those members who are survivors of interpersonal violence.

  • Encourages all college chapters to host presentations from campus/professional experts on college/university policies and procedures, as well as prevention and intervention best practices and recommendations on an ongoing, regular basis.

Throughout the next few weeks, we will discuss these issues more in-depth as a part of a social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence. Our posts will include more conversation on the issue, how to support survivors, rape supportive culture, and opportunities to be an advocate against sexual violence. We hope you join us in the conversation; we want to hear from you.

Melissa Shaub, Alpha Sigma/Washington State, is the director of education & leadership at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Monday, September 22, 2014 10:00 AM, by Anne Humphries Arseneau
Anne Humphries Arseneau
Beta Lambda/
William & Mary
I've spent the last four years learning more about hazing prevention. I always knew hazing was bad, but I didn't really know what to do about it. That's a scary thing to admit for this student affairs professional who spends her work days supporting college women and men in activities/clubs/fraternities/sororities. Thanks to some great immersive learning (Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention and the excellent resources offered by HazingPrevention.Org), I know a little bit more than I did a few years ago.

Today begins National Hazing Prevention Week, and I want to share with you the most important things I've learned that have helped me think about it and talk about it differently:

People don't want to hurt other people. The problem is, if we aren't killing people or physically maiming them, we just don't recognize it as hazing. That's not a standard I'm comfortable with. People don't set out to hurt their (new) friend. But most hazing situations "just got out of hand" and typically involved excessive amounts of alcohol. Guess what? Things can quickly get out of hand.

Telling the new member "you don't have to do anything you don't want to..." won't mean you aren't hazing. Thinking that you are giving a choice when there is such a significant power differential means there actually isn't a choice - no matter what you say.

People have a deep-seated human desire to belong. College-age women and men are also seeking "rite of passage" experiences. These two compelling forces that lead to hazing behavior aren't going anywhere. So it's up to us to do better.

As a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, how can you do better? For me, it's about human dignity. No one should ever be demeaned or exposed to harm in their efforts to be part of campus life or our sisterhood. We shouldn't tolerate shenanigans that serve no purpose in making us better members or better women. In every activity, event, and initiative that is part of your new member program, always ask yourself the following:

• Will this help the new member become a better woman?
• Will this help the new member become a better member of Kappa Alpha Theta?
• What are the aspirations of Kappa Alpha Theta? (Think social, intellectual, and moral growth.)
• What do we want new members to experience as they are join our sisterhood?
• What is the purpose of the activity that you are asking them to be involved in?

That's your litmus test. A little reflection and scrutiny can go a long way. If individual members and chapters would just examine all of the activities and events (both on and off the grid) that occur during the new member experience, we'd be in a much better place. Ensure that the PURPOSE of the activity is aligned with the GOALS of Kappa Alpha Theta so that the INTENTION is to help the new member become a better woman and sister because of her new member experience, not in spite of it.

That's it. It's really that simple. It's not a list of what you can or can't do. Just treat people with dignity and make your experiences purposeful. Help one another become better friends, sisters, and women. Every day.

Anne Humphries Arseneau, Beta Lambda/William & Mary, is the director of student leadership development at William & Mary, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Monday, December 23, 2013 08:00 AM, by Lynne McCaul Miller
'Tis the season for parties, presents, family, and friends. Of course all of these things can be quite delightful and enjoyable, but they might also have you saying, "Tis the season for treats, shopping, and headaches!"

While it's easy to tell you everything taken in moderation is fine, it might be a lot harder to do in practice. (I know it's hard for me!) It's important to remember to just take everything one step at a time and start with small changes. Got a craving? Try chewing a piece of gum. Want to buy that beautiful scarf for your mother, aunt, or grandmother, but it's way over your budget? What about an IOU for a girls' day out together (manicures, lunch, whatever you enjoy!)? She'd much rather spend time with you! Feel like you're running around from house to house with barely time to breathe? Just remember, this is one time out of the year when you can actually enjoy time with your loved ones all in one place.

Need some inspiration for staying healthy this season? The wellness committee and Talk One-2-One have collected some tips to help you survive the holidays.

Whatever your plans are this holiday season, we send you our warmest wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

Lynne McCaul Miller, Mu/Allegheny, is the wellness committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Thursday, October 25, 2012 02:57 PM, by Cynthea Strube Yestal
Cynthea Yestal
Beta Chi/Alberta
October 21-27, 2012 is National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW). This year's theme - "Make Smart Choices" - really hits home with me as Kappa Alpha Theta's risk prevention committee chairman. As Thetas, we pride ourselves in being leaders, being responsible women and making smart choices. And as leaders, we need to challenge one another to make smarter decisions.

While we expect our members to follow local, state/province, and national laws and policies (see Article IV, Section 8 of the bylaws), we also have a duty to care about each other and step in when someone we know needs help. As Thetas, we look out for one another. We need to trust and respect a sister who thoughtfully and carefully asks, "Do you think you really should have another drink?" or suggests, "Maybe you should slow down or have a glass of water." Watch out for your sisters and challenge them to make smart choices as well. Let's hold each other to the higher standards of noblest of womanhood we wish to attain as Thetas.

Is your chapter participating in any events this week to mark NCAAW? Does your chapter have a program that is helping curb irresponsible drinking? If so, the risk prevention committee would like to hear from you at We can then share these successes with other chapters and even feature them in an upcoming blog post.

Cynthea Yestal, Beta Chi/Alberta, is the risk prevention chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta, and is a charter Life Loyal member.