The ACACIA fraternity chapter on this campus is notorious for drugging and raping women. All semester, people have been posting on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app, that the men of ACACIA and the people who live at the “Blue House” on Court Street are targeting women.
There have been many rumors that the ACACIA fraternity chapter on this campus has been drugging and raping women. All semester, people have been posting on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app, that the men of ACACIA and the people who live at the “Blue House” on Court Street are targeting women.
The notion that the ACACIA chapter is a breeding ground for rapists has been around since before Yik Yak became popular at Ohio University. A fellow senior in one of my classes told me that during her freshman year, it wasn’t uncommon to hear the phrase, “ACACIA will rape ya.”
A petition to ban OU’s ACACIA chapter was created Sunday by members of F--kRapeCulture. People have written on the petition saying, “A close friend was sexually assaulted at ‘Blue House’ by a member,” and “I’m signing because as an Athens native this has been general knowledge to me since I was old enough to know what the term meant, that the ACACIA members were well known to roofie women who went to their parties.”
I, along with fellow classmates, have also heard first and second-hand personal accounts from women who have been drugged there and don’t feel safe coming forward with their story. And how could they? This fraternity has been known to do these things for years and not once has an investigation been held. Ohio University will ban certain members and entire chapters for hazing and drinking, but not for rape.
On Saturday morning, Yik Yak was flooded with stories that the “Blue House” yet again drugged and raped a lot of women. I called the Athens Police Department and was told there wasn’t anything that they could do unless someone involved came forward. The National Institute of Justice reports that fewer than 5 percent of survivors in college will report an attempted or completed rape. At a university where these accusations go uninvestigated, it’s understandable why survivors wouldn’t want to come forward.
I was afraid to write this column. My face runs alongside it and if these men are capable of systematically drugging and raping women, then they’re capable of more violent acts. But it is time we broke the silence.
The petition cannot single-handedly ban ACACIA, but it can put pressure on the university to investigate. The University of Virginia suspended all fraternities for 48 days after gang rape accusations. Why can’t our campus even acknowledge publicly that this happens here? President Roderick McDavis, Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi and Ohio University administrators as a whole: It is your responsibility to act. Women being safe from rape and assault should be the norm and our speaking out against assault should be encouraged, not ignored.
Don’t let OU be known for protecting those who want to harm our fellow students. If we want to claim we’re a “Bobcat family,” we need to stand together. If you’ve been one of ACACIA’s victims, please contact the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program. They are not mandated reporters and offer many different services to survivors.
I encourage all of you to sign the petition on Change.org if you haven’t already, and to start the conversation that rape will not be accepted on this campus. We’re better than that.
Jessica Ensley is a senior studying journalism and an active member of F--kRapeCulture. Email her at email@example.com