Fraternities, Drinking, and Sex: What You Should Know and What You Should Tell Your Kids

Assault, injury, and death caused by alcohol are the norm for many fraternities across the country, and so too are lawsuits pressing charges on behalf of those harmed. It’s not the isolated incident that many fraternities under pressure would have you believe, but it’s something that rarely makes it into the press. Why? Lots of money, lots of power, and a unique ability to blame everyone else for the harm caused by their members after hours.

What are the most common issues to see the inside of a courtroom? A great number of falls—from windows, decks, balconies, etc.—and sexual assault. And what is almost always an underlying factor? Alcohol abuse and binge drinking.

Are Fraternities the Only Culprits?

Most colleges have a “no alcohol” policy on campus, as do sororities. Additionally, sororities are not allowed to hold mixed parties at their houses. When they sponsor an event, it is usually at a third-party venue.

This doesn’t mean that alcohol-related deaths, assaults, and other injuries don’t occur anywhere except fraternities and fraternity parties, but the rates of these problems are far higher when fraternities are involved.

Who Is Most Likely to Be Involved in a Fraternity Alcohol-Related Incident?

In most of the incidents cited by the Atlantic Monthly piece, all involved were drunk. Falls were usually related to pranks that went awry. Sexual assaults were usually perpetrated on young women who attended the party and drank heavily without the benefit of sober companions.

In her investigation, the author says that the young man who was often the perpetrator of these incidents was a fraternity member whose parents had bailed him out repeatedly in high school. That is, if he drank or used drugs, his parents overlooked it. If he was arrested, his parents immediately bailed him out and hired a high-priced lawyer to get him out of it. If he wrecked his car, he was given a new one or repairs were paid for by his parents who also would foot the bill for the increase in insurance.

In short, the person most likely to be involved in these events is a young man who never had to experience consequences for his decisions and who feels as if the rules don’t apply to him.

Taking a Stand Now

If your son is headed off to college or will be in the next couple of years, you can help to protect him from these kinds of issues well in advance by:

  • Setting clear boundaries around drug and alcohol use
  • Allowing natural consequences to teach him not to repeat poor choices
  • Setting him up for success academically and socially
  • Immediately stepping in and getting him help if he starts drinking or using drugs

The dangers associated with fraternity parties are less about the fraternity and more about the person in the fraternity. If your son is headed off to school, you can help him to do his best by getting him treatment for alcohol and drug abuse issues now. Call us at Muir Wood today for more information.