People Are Opening Up About The Trauma They Experienced At The Hands Of A College Fraternity, And It's Truly Disturbing

·12 min read

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share any negative encounters they've had with fraternities. Though the stories we received are very upsetting, they are important to tell, and we hope they start larger conversations. Here's what they shared:

sign reading "fraternity row"
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Warning: Submissions include mentions of sexual assault, rape, racism, and abuse. Proceed with caution.

1."Remember the show on MTV, Fraternity Life? They filmed at my school during my junior year — I think it was 2003. I was in a sorority that hung out with the frat they chose to film. I woke up one morning after a frat party that had been filmed to a call from someone in the student life office asking me if I knew anything about a koi fish being stolen, and if Greek life was involved. I was hungover and clueless, but said I would ask around and get back to them. Not more than 10 minutes later, one of my roommates burst into my room and yelled at me to say nothing if I received a call from the school asking about a missing fish. Umm, WHAT? Turns out the night before, a 20-year-old koi fish had been stolen from a campus pond."

"For those of you that don’t know anything about koi fish, they are VERY expensive, especially old ones. Like, $15K expensive. It had been fished out by two rakes stolen from a custodial closet. Guess who had keys to that closet as a part of his campus job? A member of the fraternity. After the party, the pledge educator of the new frat members being filmed made the pledges head to campus and steal the fish. It could have ended there, but it didn’t. They then were told to BBQ the fish and were FORCED TO EAT IT. Oh, and ALL OF THIS was filmed by MTV for the show. People ran their mouths, and the guys involved ended up getting caught and turned in, but not before campus became a frenzy of anti-Greek protests and angry students spray-painting koi fish all over campus sidewalks with the words ‘Avenge me.’ MTV was subpoenaed for the tapes, and, thanks to the video evidence, the main two frat members involved ended up going to federal prison for grand theft since the fish was worth so much."

—Anonymous

2."I was pledging a fraternity my freshman year. We were at an off-campus house when the older members said they had something planned for another member who had lavaliered his girlfriend. Suddenly, a group of the guys grabbed the guy and held him down, then tied him to a chair. They took him out in the backyard and told him why they were doing this. They proceeded to dump two large buckets of a substance over him. The smell was horrendous, and I asked what it was. I was told it was two weeks worth of feces, urine, vomit, and other bodily fluids contributed by the members of the house who lived there."

—Anonymous

man in a toga covered in yellow liquid
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3."Most feminine-presenting people who have been to a crowded area like a club/bar/party/concert are familiar with the experience of someone copping a feel as they move past you, and how one of the reasons this is so frustrating is that before you know what’s going on, the creep has disappeared into the crowd. One night (at least five years ago now), I went to a frat party with some friends and this happened. Someone was trying to walk by me, and it was that typical hand on the small of your back, but somehow he managed to grab my entire boob. I guess the boob grab took too much time though, because before he snuck off into the crowd I was able to grab the back collar of his shirt and yank him backward."

"I don’t remember the exact series of events, but after an exchange of a lot of yelling (that nobody could honestly hear because of loud music), I ended up being the one to leave because 'he was just trying to get through the crowd.' The next time a similar thing happened at a party, I grabbed the guy's neck with both hands, after which I was also the one to leave (arguably a little more fair, but I stand by it). The second story didn’t happen at a frat house, but Greek life was really ubiquitous both on and off campus at my large university, and definitely shaped the landscape for off-campus house parties in general. I can’t even count how many other times this has happened, but without consequence."

—Anonymous

4."My second son was in a fraternity in a school in Arkansas. In his freshman year at his big brother's apartment, because the house was under construction, they had my son drink high-percentage alcohol until he was unconscious. The president of the fraternity came in and took my son to the hospital. His blood alcohol level was 0.4. I found out by receiving a bill from the hospital. My son knew I would react to the fraternity. The president called my older son to let him know that night. I communicated with the president of the fraternity, and he immediately gave me legal talk. I should have reported to the university, but my son begged me not to since he was OK."

—Anonymous

solo cups and pong balls
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5."I attended a date party at one of the frats on campus with a guy I didn't know well at all. He was the roommate of my best friend's boyfriend at the time. This party was a major event, and brothers from other chapters of the house at neighboring universities were allowed to attend. When I got there, my date and I had two shots from a bottle of tequila he'd gotten for us, and I started sipping on a beer that I'd opened. At some point, someone slipped something in the bottle and both my date and I blacked out as a result of being roofied. I 'came to' hours later, mostly naked and covered in blood with bruising all up my back and arms, two black eyes, and a broken nose. I have absolutely no recollection of my night after those two shots."

"I went to the hospital and had a blood test run to see what our bottle had been spiked with, but the results were inconclusive. I ultimately declined the sexual assault test because I was so traumatized that I didn't think I could handle the invasiveness of the exam. Plus, I think knowing for sure that I'd been raped would have truly broken me. The fraternity blamed the incident on one of the brothers from another chapter, and nothing ever came of it. I was terrified of ever going to that house again, as I'd become some kind of sick punchline. Ten years later and I still wonder what the hell happened to me and why nobody, not even my own sorority sisters, did anything to protect me that night or in the aftermath."

—Anonymous

6."I lived in my university's Greek row area, but I wasn't in a sorority. I still lived in a house of girls though, so we would be invited to a ton of frat parties since a lot of the girls were dating or hooking up with brothers. We hung out at the Jewish frat a lot because the majority of us are Jewish, we were on the same street, and we would all go to Hillel events together. One night, we were at a massive party at a different fraternity house, and I ended up getting roofied. One of the Jewish frat brothers said he would make sure I got home just a few blocks away and helped me get out of the party. Everyone trusted him because he was part of our group that hung out all the time. Instead of taking me home immediately, he took me to his house first and took advantage of me."

"The next morning things were fuzzy, but I remembered enough to know what happened. I told my housemates, but they said I wasn't allowed to say anything since one of the other girls in the house had a crush on him, and there was 'no way' I wasn't a willing participant. I couldn't tell his frat brothers because I knew they would support him over me, and I couldn't tell Hillel because I knew it would become a huge deal and I would lose a ton of friends. Fraternity misogyny had such a tight grip on that group of girls, even though none of us were in the Greek system. Needless to say, I don't talk to a single person from that house or fraternity anymore."

—Anonymous

university houses on a quad
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7."My good friend Tim Piazza (whose story was covered by USA Today) was forced into drinking himself quite literally TO DEATH while rushing a frat. Bad experiences at frats don’t always just mean douchey bros kicking girls out after hook ups, or disgusting living conditions. The culture can be, and has PROVEN TO BE, DEADLY."

—Anonymous

8."This happened when I attended college in the late '90s. During pledging, one night I was handcuffed to a classmate, put in a small car trunk, driven around, and made to do multiple tasks. I still think about what could have happened had we been in an accident. That same night, another pledge was asked to 'pretend' to hold up a convenience store using a toy gun. That could've led to a horrific outcome, had it progressed. During the same time frame, fraternities forced pledges to play 'pledge football' — which was tackle football without any pads or protection, or any official referees. The university ultimately banned pledge football after several broken bones and other injuries. The Greek system should be abolished."

—Anonymous

frat boys in front of their house
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

9."During my undergrad, I was accepted as a pledge (neophyte) for a very popular Black fraternity. The activities we were forced into included an incredible amount of beatings. We were punched in our chests seven times in honor of the founders (weekly). We were hit with paddles until our backsides developed massive scabs from our skin being broken. The mental abuse was equally destructive. I was disillusioned by all the violence. I ended up quitting. Sadly, not belonging to that group still haunts me. The public mission is still very attractive. The fraternity does all kinds of great work. Too bad the initiates must endure life-threatening abuse to join."

—Anonymous

10."There was a frat house on the route back to my apartment from campus. Every time I walked past the place in the afternoon or early evening, there was a crowd of drunk, catcalling frat boys on a couch out front who made every effort to make me feel like garbage. My alternative routes would have taken me past more frat houses with even worse reputations, or next to a very busy road, so I was stuck with them."

—Anonymous

frat boys drinking on a couch
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11."I was raped as part of a hazing 'game' for new pledges. The guys were each dared to find the 'ugliest girl' on campus, bring her back to the house, and the 'winner' got gangbanged (non-consensually) by the new pledges. If they were able to cum, they’d make it in. I was sober, but restrained. None of them were instructed to wear condoms, and I later tested positive for HPV. Fuck the Greek system."

—Anonymous

12."I had to pick birdseed, insulation, and sand out of my boyfriend's forearms after his pledge class had to do planks on each substance for five minutes a piece. That's one of the milder examples of the hazing he went through, but one of the only ones I had actual proof of both the means and execution."

—Anonymous

upset young man sitting on bleachers
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13."When I was in school, frats would regularly host racist themed parties. After one frat hosted a ‘tequila sunrise’ party, several Latinx campus groups protested, so frat bros would drive past throwing tortillas at them. Nothing ever happened to them as far as I know."

—Anonymous

14."A friend of mine was assaulted during a frat party. She and another girl were violently grabbed by a boy on their breasts and backsides. This was caught on camera, and was clearly non-consensual. My friend went up against him in court for assault, but he claimed that it was consensual. After his parents paid a ridiculous amount of money, he got off with a slap on the wrist. He had to attend a class on sexual harassment and did 10 hours of community service."

"My friend has since struggled with being in crowds or places with loud music, as nobody stepped in to help when she was assaulted (even though she screamed). The boy has been allowed to continue at university and still lives in the frat."

—Anonymous

upset young woman
Photoalto / Getty Images/PhotoAlto

15."A frat boy sexually assaulted one of my friends in college, and when I found out, I marched into the frat house during a party, grabbed the dude’s drink out of his hand, and threw it in his face. I made sure everyone at that party heard me yelling about how he sexually assaults women as I got dragged out of there."

elizawithaz

16.Finally: "I had really shitty friends in middle school who would always pressure me into doing things I didn’t want to do. On Halloween in seventh grade, we had plans to watch horror movies at one of their houses, which was about half a mile away from the frat houses. We eventually got bored and snuck out, and one of them suggested we go to a frat party. My other friends agreed, but I said that I didn’t trust frat guys and thought it was a really bad idea. One of them told me I was being dramatic and ruining the fun, so I went anyway because I still wanted them to like me. I stayed for a few minutes, but broke down crying after one of the frat guys started flirting with me."

"I found my friend whose house we were originally at and asked if we could go back. She said she wanted to stay, and I was being selfish for wanting to leave. I left alone and got myself to calm down before going back to my friend's house so I could ask my mom to pick me up. I cut them off after that."

stefon_meyers

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.

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