The stereotypical bro-type frat-guy is nowhere to be found in the Theta Psi chapter of Sigma Chi, one of two fraternities recruiting UW students. The brothers of the chapter recently released a video they made about sexual assault prevention, titled “Break the Silence.”
The brothers participated in a workshop about rape culture and sexual violence prevention before collaborating to write the video’s script and film over the summer. The video had just surpassed 1,500 views on Youtube at the time of printing.
“We know we’re not experts on this topic and we know it can be uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it,” said a brother in the video. Acknowledging that they are no experts was important to the chapter’s message.
“We don’t necessarily think that we have the capability of solving the problem, but we wanted to start a conversation about it because [we’re] an organization that’s usually hit with the stigma associated with [rape culture],” said Dominic Aquilina, a Sigma Chi brother who participated in the video.
Fraternity culture, particularly in the U.S. where greek life is significantly more prominent on post-secondary campuses, is often associated with perpetrating rape culture. A 2007 study published in the <em>Journal of Interpersonal Violence</em> found that fraternity men were three times more likely to engage in “sexually aggressive acts.” That study notably looked at American universities and their greek life, not Canadian. The brothers of the Theta Psi chapter of Sigma Chi have worked to distance themselves from the American fraternity stereotype.
“We don’t want to seem like we’re entitled to anything. We want to encourage our brothers as well as any fraternity brothers to discuss these issues and hold each other accountable,” said Artem Litchmanov, a Sigma Chi brother of over a year.
The fraternity brothers sent the video to media outlets, women’s shelters, and organizations like Male Allies and It’s on Us. They plan to make it an ongoing project with follow up videos discussing other topics within the issue of rape culture.
“It was kind of a start to a campaign that we want to expand on,” Litchmanov said.
“The reason we’re trying to break the silence is because our group is not talking about this. We as fraternities, we as college-level males, are not having this discussion because it’s just ingrained in the culture,” Aquilina said.
According to Aquilina and Litchmanov, philanthropy is a big part of their Sigma Chi chapter. Each brother is expected to complete at least 10 hours of volunteer work each term and they preach these values from day one. The chapter accepts eight to 10 new brothers per term with up to 60 people rushing. Lichmanov said many come to them looking for a party stereotype, those are the people the Sigma Chi brothers are looking to weed out during the rush period.
The video in question can be viewed on the Sigma Chi Theta Psi Youtube page and on their Twitter account. For more information on ending the silence surrounding sexual assault, visit www.itsonus.org.