Members of Greek Life
As leaders & mentors on campus, members of Greek life are uniquely situated to help lead social movements toward equity & anti-violence.
With 20% of Cal Poly students affiliated with Greek life (over 4000 people!), the potential for change-making is substantial.
So... what can members of Greek life do to create a culture of anti-violence on & off campus? The following recommendations were developed by current Greek students at Cal Poly.
- If you hear your friends use words and phrases that are common in society that normalize gender- & power-based violence, supremacy, or victim blaming: explain how that language can be harmful. Normalizing violent, predatory and oppressive language lays the groundwork for physical violence to become the norm - we must intervene long before violence occurs, and hold people accountable to the impact of their language.
- Support our brothers and sisters in making their own decisions surrounding their sex life & relationships. The only expectations surrounding sex should be that it is consensual and enjoyable for all parties.
- Be an active bystander in our community. All of us have the potential to be a leader - and our entire community will be better & safer for it.
- Join Students for a Safer Greek Life, a coalition of current & former Greek students who partner with Safer to educate the Greek community on gender- & power-based violence prevention, and provide feedback on Safer curriculum. Email our Prevention Specialist, Jennifer MacMartin, to learn more & get involved!
COMMUNITY ACTIONS WITHIN GREEK LIFE
- We can make a conscious effort to make sure that our organizations are inclusive and provide a safe space for people of all identities. Diversity, equity & inclusion are all protective factors against violence.
- We can end hazing, and any other traditions that create a power imbalance between members by degrading and embarrassing a particular group of individuals. One of the root causes of violence is power differentials - by eliminating these on a systemic basis, we can create a culture of respect, empathy & compassion.
- We can work with our national or local organizations to create scholarships and payment plans so that Greek Life may be accessible to individuals in different socioeconomic classes. Access is key - this allows all voices to be heard and seen, even the most marginalized.
- We can focus on supporting our brothers and sisters, especially those who may be victims or survivors of Gender- and Power-Based Violence. Organizations can be outright supporters of survivors, and partner with Safer to become more trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and empowerment-based.
- We can make sure survivors have access to confidential resources, and are not shamed for coming forward with an experience. We can make sure that when survivors disclose, that they are redirected to Safer's confidential advocacy & support, rather than conducting internal chapter investigations.
HOW TO BE AN ALLY
- We must also acknowledge that power imbalances between Greek life members still exist, and actively work to dismantle those differentials.
- Address our own harmful attitudes and beliefs - this work starts with us!
- Continue to educate your friends and yourself on this topic and things surrounding this topic that you are interested in. Invite Safer to facilitate a workshop at a chapter meeting, and engage with our quarterly Awareness Month events!
If you would like to speak directly with our Prevention Specialist to brainstorm possiblities within your chapter, schedule a meeting via her Calendly here!