Story 4: A Fraternity Creating Safety for Women
Dear Engaged Bystander: I was incredibly moved by the story Cassandra Thomas told me. So I wanted to include this (again) in my blog of ten stories to celebrate 10 years of NSVRC's great work. Here is her story:
When I first went to college, I was drinking a lot and went to a lot of parties. There was one situation that changed the way I look at things. I don't remember anything about this particular college party, leaving the party or even being in a car with a guy and a lot of his friends. But my friends saw me leave and they came down to the car and pulled me out. I was messed up and it would have led to another rape, but my friends recognized what was going on, pulled me out and said to the other guys, "you can NOT do her".
Why did they do that?
A few months earlier I had been raped while I was visiting my home. Before I returned to school, my mom called my friends and let them know that I was not doing well. She asked my fraternity friends to look after me. They took that responsibility very seriously. And after that incident in the car, they made a decision that this is not going to happen to anyone we know or anyone at a fraternity party.
At the time it did not seem like a big deal. But looking back, this was a HUGE deal for all of us to look after anyone who came to the frat parties. Whenever I have a chance to speak, I let people know that we ALL have a responsibility. There will always be men who rape. There will always be men who molest children. But, there are enough who don't do this. So I let people know that "in our little circle we can change this".
Cassandra Thomas is a member of the NSVRC Advisory Council and Vice President of Direct Services of the Houston Area Women's Center.