Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Sexual Assault Prevention, Fraternities, Rape, Universities

Major Advisor

Pamela Erickson

Associate Advisor

Merrill Singer

Associate Advisor

Sarah Willen

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


One in four women will be victim/survivors of sexual assault by the time she graduates college (Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski 1988). In the decades since this shocking statistic was revealed colleges and universities have spent time, money, and resources to address sexual assault. Unfortunately, little has changed and it continues to be an epidemic (Abbey 2002, Fisher, Cullen, and Turner 2000, Lee et al. 2003, U.S. Department of Education 2010). In addition, fraternity men are more likely to perpetrate these crimes than their non-affiliated peers (Boyle 2015, Kingree and Thompson 2013, Murnen and Kohlman 2007). The prevention programs colleges and universities use lack evidence of their effectiveness (DeGue et al. 2014, Vladutiu, Martin, and Macy 2011).

This study takes an anthropological approach in understanding the emic perspectives of fraternity life. Through years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, this study explains why fraternity men remain an at-risk population for sexual assault perpetration due to the power dynamics, discourses, and lived reality of fraternal life. This fieldwork informed the creation of a new sexual assault prevention program for fraternity men. This study measures the effectiveness of the piloting of this new program.

Results indicated that the intervention showed some success. The fraternity men were open to the program and genuinely wanted to talk about sexual assault and consent. After exposure to the intervention the men gained a better understanding of what consent

entailed. They now understand that consent is a continuous process and that consent is needed for each aspect of a sexual encounter. The program was able to begin to normalize the topics of consent and sexual assault which allowed the men to discuss these concepts with their sexual partners and peers. The program needs some improvements in modeling consent to assist the men in changing their behaviors. These results provide guidance for ways to improve upon the program to garner stronger effects. Implications for dissemination of the intervention is also discussed.