15 Frightening Facts about Sororities and Fraternities

We know that Greek-letter organizations are built upon age-old traditions and secrets that have strengthened the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood for more than a hundred years. We also know that some of the biggest names in American history have belonged to a fraternity or sorority, and the Greek GPA is higher than the overall undergraduate GPA at most universities. Yet, despite these positive aspects of Greek life, sororities and fraternities can't seem to shake the stereotypes and reputations for hazing and buying their friends. Regardless of what you think you know about Greek-letter organizations, these 15 frightening facts prove there's more to fraternities and sororities than meets the eye.

  1. Sorority girls are more likely to have body image issues and dysfunctional eating behaviors than their peers

    Women in sororities are more likely to have body image issues and judge themselves on physical appearances than those who did not join a sorority. According to a study in the journal Sex Roles, research showed that first-year students who went through rush had greater signs of dysfunctional eating behavior than those who did not rush, and the body image issues continued for many new members.

  2. Greeks are more likely to abuse alcohol and binge drink

    Sororities and fraternities drink more often and in greater amounts than their peers. According to the U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center, 75% of fraternity members engaged in heavy drinking, compared with 49% of other male students. Likewise, 62% of sorority members engaged in binge drinking versus 41% of non-sorority members.

  3. Fraternity men have a higher risk for committing sexual assault

    Research has shown that fraternity men are at greater risk for committing sexual assault due to their alcohol consumption, sexual outlook and group attitudes toward women. Although fraternity members also have a higher risk for committing rape than other college men, most of them don't rape.

  4. The fraternity or sorority house is the largest on-campus venue for drinking

    More students engaged in drinking at fraternity and sorority houses than any other on-campus venue or residence hall. According to the Harvard School of Public Health's College Alcohol Study, 75% of students living in fraternity and sorority houses were heavy drinkers, compared to 45% of students who lived in non-Greek housing and 35% of the overall student population.

  5. Greek members abuse prescription stimulants more than their peers

    Fraternity and sorority members are more likely to abuse prescription stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin or Dexedrine than the rest of the student population. According to a 2004 article published in the journal Addiction, white fraternity members and sorority members had the highest rate of abusing non-medical prescription stimulants.

  6. New members are still paddled in some sororities and fraternities

    Even though paddling is an illegal and practically antiquated hazing ritual, there are still sororities and fraternities that continue to break this law. These Greek organizations often beat the new members with wooden paddles as a form of hazing or punishment. Paddling often leaves cuts, bloody bruises and scars on victims and has even led to some being killed by lethal blows to the head and chest.

  7. Sorority members are more likely to be victims of sexual assault

    Sorority members have a greater risk of being sexually assaulted in college than non-members. According to the National Institute of Justice, nearly a quarter of sexual assault victims are sorority members. These women also face a higher risk for violence in dating relationships than other female students.

  8. More students engage in heavy drinking at fraternity and sorority parties than at off-campus parties and bars

    Fraternity and sorority parties see more cases of heavy drinking than any other off-campus party or bar in college. According to the Harvard School of Public Health's College Alcohol Study, 32% of students who drink had attended a fraternity or sorority party during the year, and 13% of the students who attended these parties had at least five drinks in one sitting.

  9. Fourty-four U.S. states currently have anti-hazing laws

    It's a frightening fact that six states (Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming) do not have an anti-hazing law, compared to the 44 states that do. The good thing is that some of these states do have statutes that address assault and reckless endangerment cases and the prosecution of these individuals. These anti-hazing laws are set in place to protect victims and punish those who are responsible.

  10. Since 1970, there has been at least one hazing-related death in college each year

    Although there is not a firm count on the number of fraternities and sororities that engage in hazing in the U.S., there has been record of at least one hazing-related death on a college campus each year since 1970. And while hazing exists in many sports teams, military units and gangs, fraternities garner the most attention for their ritualistic and sometimes deadly hazing with alcohol, violence and reckless endangerment.

  11. Fraternity and sorority members suffer more alcohol-related consequences than their peers

    According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, fraternities and sororities are more likely to suffer alcohol-related consequences than non-Greek students because they drink more. These consequences range from poor test performance, alcohol-related injuries, arguments, assault, property damage and sexual assault. In fact, Greek leaders and those living in a sorority or fraternity house experience the most negative consequences because of their own drinking habits and those of other students.

  12. White fraternities typically use alcohol as a hazing tool, whereas black fraternities traditionally use physical violence

    Hazing is seen in all types of fraternities and sororities. Historically, white fraternities are known for using alcohol in hazing rituals and black fraternities typically use physical violence. Both forms of hazing are extremely dangerous and have taken the lives of new members every year. Although many white and black fraternities have adopted a zero tolerance for hazing, it continues to happen in many chapters across the nation.

  13. Nine out of 10 students who have experienced hazing in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed

    It's rather alarming that nine out of 10 students who experienced hazing behavior in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed. Some students view hazing as harmless pranks, and others don't consider themselves to have been hazed because they were never physically harmed. But the truth remains that when students are expected to engage in any activity that humiliates, abuses or endangers them is considered hazing.

  14. Fraternity Hell Week still exists

    Despite what you may have heard about the abolishment of fraternity Hell Week, the hazing tradition is still in full force at many college campuses. Hell Week is the seven-day period before new members are initiated as active members of the fraternity. This longstanding ritual varies from one fraternity chapter to the next, but has been known to involve a great deal of hazing, humiliation and exhaustion. This is also the time in which many fraternity members have fallen to their death because of the dangerous activities they are forced to do before initiation.

  15. The environment in fraternity houses contributes to rape culture

    Research suggests that fraternity house environments contribute to the problem of rape. Fraternities' group norms and attitudes toward women and sex have led to this rape culture environment. According to research from the journal Sex Roles, individual fraternity men are more likely to display objectifying images of women in their rooms, have supportive attitudes about rape and believe women want to engage in rough sexual acts even if they act disinterested.

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