The Delta Gamma Email & Rape Culture

Dear Delta Gammas of Maryland,

That email that just went viral?  The one that’s popping up on my FaceBook newsfeed and all over Twitter?  The one where you call your fellow sorority sisters “boring”, “f*cking f**ggots”, and “retarded”?

News flash ladies.  The country is not laughing with you right now.  Most of them are laughing at you.  But there are also hundreds of women like me, who are sitting here in front of our computer screens, screaming at you for being so ignorant.  Women who are filled with rage, shame, and frustration.  Women who are shocked and saddened that there are still other women who just don’t get it.  Your email is a perfect example of how rape culture in our nation’s universities has become so common.

Want to know who the real “stupid sh*ts” are?

You.

Let me clarify.

Even without the cursing and the derogatory language, you just sent an email to over a hundred women, that essentially asked them to put on their sluttiest outfits, their happiest faces, their most engaged smiles, and to make themselves available to these chosen fraternity brothers at all costs.  “I would rather have 40 girls that are fun, talk to boys, and not fucking awkward than 80 that are f*cking f**gots.”  Apparently it is possible to get into a good university without having ever learned anything about women’s rights, civil rights, the importance of autonomy and self-esteem, and the fact that many women have already figured out that they don’t need to smile and nod to be a valuable part of a conversation with men.

Let me also fill you in on something else.  When you encourage your sisters to get drunk because it makes them more approachable and more “fun”, you are setting them up to be sexually assaulted.  The Greek System in most universities can be held responsible for the majority of acquaintance rapes that happen on campus.  Clearly, you are well-versed in how that could happen.  “If you are one of the people that have told me “Oh nooo boo hoo I can’t talk to boys I’m too sober”, then I pity you because I don’t know how you got this far in life, and with that in mind don’t f*cking show up unless you’re going to stop being a goddamn c*ck block for our chapter.”  I’m so glad that you’re teaching the women around you that being a “cock-block” is something negative.  That having the right to choose to say no to sex is something to be embarassed or ashamed of.  Way to make some room for the drunk ladies who are following your orders to make those angelic Sigma Nu’s feel important and appreciated.

I was raped by a Sigma Nu.  A Sigma Nu who spent two years going to these lovely Greek “mixers”, and your kickball/softball/soccer games.  A Sigma Nu who felt entitled to take whatever he wanted from me, in part because he was used to Delta Gamma’s like you who thought that a woman’s job was to make him feel appreciated, attractive, and important.  When a woman is raped, there are a dozen pieces to a puzzle that first fall into place to create a vacuum of vulnerability around her.  Your email just gave us a few pieces of that puzzle.  Don’t be yourself.  Drink to feel comfortable.  Talk to men you’re not interested in.  Fake it.  You’re not worth anything.  You’re part of a larger group that doesn’t value individuality or common sense.  Push  yourself out of your comfort zone.  Risk your body for the greater good.

You owe your sisters more than this.  You owe yourself more.  It’s clear after reading your email that class, self-respect, and pride can’t always be taught.  Perhaps your next meeting among sisters should be about the things that will really get you through life.  Harnessing your power as a woman, and using it for good.  Giving back to your community (you might want to start by getting some basic education on the LGBTQ community and those with special needs.)  Putting your brain before your body, and sucking the marrow from your college courses, instead of sucking on the end of a beer bong, might be helpful as well.  In fact, I would guess that exercising your brilliant mind is actually what got you into college to begin with.  And I’ll tell you a secret…..once you get out of college, guys really dig smart chicks.

There was nothing hilarious about your email.  Don’t be fooled by the news headlines that call you “deranged” and “amazing”.  You are neither.  You are simply a group of women who have abandoned your sisters, and done it publicly.  You are making room for the next Steubenville, for the next Jane Doe.  You aren’t just promoting rape culture, you have written a guidebook for it.  A play-by-play.  Women come to you for a sense of belonging, for a safety net when they are away from home for the first time.  You have thrown them to the wolves.  You have created the darkness outside of the cave.

Women of Delta Gamma, what a beautiful opportunity you have created for yourselves.  It’s time to stand up.  It’s time to speak out.  It’s time to tell the world what you will do to protect each other now.  How will you make this right for the young women who look up to you?  How will you help your precious, “chosen” fraternity brothers learn that being matched up with women is not a right that they are entitled to?  This isn’t about showing up to cheer them on in kickball, this is about learning how to cheer yourselves on.  How to keep each other safe.  How to beg each other to be aware, to be real, to be self-confident and empowered.

Let this be your lesson Delta Gammas.  There is much to learn from this horrible mistake.

Sincerely,

A woman who hopes you find your place in the larger sisterhood of life

 

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Comments:

  1. I hadn’t heard anything of the email before your article popped up in my facebook feed, it’s disturbing and sad… your post was a beautiful and eloquent antidote.

  2. First, I cannot agree with you more on the message you are trying to get across. However, I believe you are missing the main point. This was ONE woman who feels this way. Unfortunately, she was a part of DG and therefore it seems as if all DG’s at Maryland support her. Which they do not. What bothers me is you had overgeneralized this entire group.

  3. While I do agree with some of the points of your post, I think it is wrong to accuse all Delta Gammas or all Sigma Nus of improper conduct. Not all Sigma Nus are rapists, and not all rapists are Sigma Nus. Delta Gamma as a national sorority is not responsible for this girl’s email and does not condone such behavior or language.
    I especially take offense to you saying “Delta Gammas like you.” I’m sure that there are other sorority girls who have said or done similar things – they just weren’t published for the whole world to see. This kind of speech also is not limited to the Greek community. It would be better for you to say, “young women like you,” if you need to say this at all.
    I sympathize with you over the horrific ordeal you were put through, but singling out a specific organization isn’t the answer and your message would be clearer if you opened this to ALL groups, not just Delta Gamma and Sigma Nu. This isn’t just a lesson for Delta Gamma, it is a lesson for ALL women and ALL organizations.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  4. With all due respect – you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Sororities are intensely member driven and controlled – a chapter’s activities are usually, directly or indirectly, the result of democratic decisions of its members.

    So if this sorority chapter decided to participate in “greek week”, an event specifically meant to improve contact between “greek” organizations, then it is quite legitimate to expect members to support this decision by participation.

    And nowhere in this email did the author ask anybody to “put on their sluttiest outfits”, as you suggest. She just asked her sisters to be nice, sociable, and fun.

    Which, contrary to your warped version of reality, IS a virtue, and a skill we all need. Making relaxed, positive, friendly smalltalk in a social setting with relative strangers is a a worthy ability, and a way to make new friends.

    And, for what it’s worth, I find your suggestion that a woman should refuse to talk to men she is not interested in revolting, cynical and arrogant.

    Sororities and fraternities always have a tendency to “cook in their own juice” – to keep their social activities mostly within and in context of their frat. Events like greek week are a conscious effort to counteract that. There is nothing wrong with that.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  5. thank you for a wonderful response. as with so many comments on other sites that have posted this woman’s email, there are many people who don’t understand the full implications of what this girl wrote. and too many that defend and/or make excuses for it.

    this girl verbally and emotionally assaulted her sorority sisters. she also threatened them physically (which i hope the school will look into).

    i haven’t been in college for awhile…and the “cultural language” at my workplace is quite a bit different than that used in college…so i can only come up with one definition for “being a cock block.”
    it seems to mean giving an indication to the man/men you are speaking with will not be having sex with you in the near future. to do so makes one “boring,” “awkward,” “fucking stupid,” and (strangely) a “fucking faggot.” in other words, it is something bad.
    and those sisters who are deemed to be “cock blocks” by this one girl, had better shape up, get with the program, and start delivering (as it were). so to say that the author was asking her sisters to be “nice, sociable, and fun” is disingenuous, at best. it seems quite clear that the author is ordering her sisters to be just as you described–more “available” to the fraternity brothers they were partnered with.

    as for not generalizing and not putting this at the feet of Delta Gamma–agreed that generalizing is not good. but Delta Gamma has done not one thing to address this issue. other than to send a short email to Gawker requesting that the article be removed, or at least the names of Delta Gamma and Sigma Nu removed. no apology. nothing about Delta Gamma respects all women and their right to behave as they wish around issues of control of their own bodies. nothing.

    and nowhere did you make even a vague implication that all members of Sigma Nu are rapists, nor that all rapists are Sigma Nus. that’s got to be something personal for that poster, to have read that into your blog.

    i’m sorry for the assault and trauma you suffered. you didn’t deserve it. and neither does any other victim. but with our “rape culture,” and those who defend it, however obliquely, there will certainly be more.

    • ProudDeeGee says:

      ” but Delta Gamma has done not one thing to address this issue. other than to send a short email to Gawker requesting that the article be removed, or at least the names of Delta Gamma and Sigma Nu removed. no apology. nothing about Delta Gamma respects all women and their right to behave as they wish around issues of control of their own bodies. nothing.”

      Delta Gamma is responding to this in an appropriate manner and has released a statement, an excerpt from which is below:

      “You may have either read or heard about the inappropriate email written by one of our Collegiate members that was laced with profanity and directed toward her fellow sisters. While this is not reflective of this chapter or this Fraternity, many gossip sites have published it, shared it and gotten thousands of comments on it.

      We want to make it clear that this letter in no way reflects the values of Delta Gamma as an International Fraternity or our chapter at the University of Maryland. The processes by which Delta Gamma handles member discipline are confidential, but we have a team of women working with the chapter to take all appropriate action including protecting, educating and supporting the chapter members in the aftermath of this event.”

  6. And you are no better than the author of this letter by associating your unfortunate experience with his fraternity not only at your school, but across the entire nation.

  7. The email was outrage at poor mixer behavior and poor social behavior overall. If your organization is going to host an event and then snub all the guests, why have the event in the first place?
    I understand that you find the message of “fake interest” “give them attention” to be anti-feminine but this isn’t about gender. This was about good social behavior, how to interact at social events in a society of HUMANS. We can’t blatantly ignore our guests. I bet you teach your kids to go talk to people they don’t like or want to talk to.
    It has nothing to do with your rape and rape culture. Also, you are perpetuating a counter-productive mindset. Here you are basically equating all Sigma Nu members to rapists. Men are raped too. Turning this into a gender issue sets feminists back because it perpetuates this “women are different and must be separated/protected from nasty rapey men” idea. Good job.

  8. “in part because he was used to Delta Gamma’s like you who thought that a woman’s job was to make him feel appreciated, attractive, and important.” in fact this sentence is blaming rape victims for “leading” the attacker on, which is just completely wrong. This is embarrassing. It is always wrong to rape. Not all interaction between genders is sexual.

  9. I think your story has a lot of impact. That being said, it does not directly affiliate with the connections you took from the e-mail to your own personal experience. Lexi put it well. Also, you say “let this be your lesson Delta Gammas” as though the women of Delta Gamma are the only ones in need of the lesson you connect with this e-mail- or as though the entire chapter put forth this e-mail and not the one woman who wrote it. Lastly, Chris is correct that you connected statements that were never said in the e-mail “sluttiest outfits” to conclusions far beyond what the e-mail was. It was awful, despicable, hurtful, and downright unkind to send to fellow sisters in the chapter. From a blogger perspective (and if you were ever to try to publish some sort of connection between the article and rape culture in a literary sense) the argument does not hold up.

  10. I appreciate your bravery at posting your personal experience here. The percentage of women who are raped (date and otherwise) by the time they are thirty is outrageous. Let some women disagree but I see the undercurrent of the email rant to be a call for the girls of the sorority to drink as much as necessary to be “friendly” to the boys of their related frat. Let’s see….young woman away from home for the first time wanting to fit in, young woman receiving a nasty email demanding certain behavior OR ELSE from the head of her beloved sorority, young woman who is shy (and has been told that shyness will not be tolerated) and needs liquor to be “friendly,” and horny frat guys supplying all the booze you can imagine. Yeah. That sounds like a party to me. A date rape party! If these are the values of this particular sorority then heaven help the young women who join. I guess this is a place where putting out, getting high/drunk and being “friendly” with the RIGHT boys is the key to success. I didn’t get the impression that the writer was angry that her girls were being rude or anti-social. The writer was angry at them for being SHY and BORING. Come on, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what she is talking about. Thankfully, there is a larger segment of women who do respect themselves and are in college to expand their education, their minds, their possibilities for future advancement. There will always be young women who think life is one big “Girls Gone Wild” adventure. We need to teach our daughters better so they understand their own worth. And I would tell my daughter to tell this waste of human flesh sorority beast to shove her email and its demands. I would tell her to always be a leader NOT a follower & that she doesn’t need some “club” to make it in life.

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