Testimonies each week will be submitted until the University of Pennsylvania delivers a safer and more welcoming campus for their students.
Any University of Pennsylvania community member (student, staff, or alumni) can submit a testimony with their experience surviving any degree of sexual trauma or discrimination in or around Penn Fraternities.
The form allows for anonymity and/or the choice for submissions to be published on this site (below) and on our Instagram account. The commenting section of the Instagram page will be turned off to avoid trolls and content warnings will be provided before each potentially triggering post. Regardless of whether or not you wish for your story to be published, we would love for you to submit.
CAFSA believes and supports all survivors. Any offensive or victim blaming behavior is not tolerated.
The page below contains mentions of sexual violence, abuse, racism, and homophobia.
Individual content warnings will be provided before each testimony to more specifically detail the potential trigger.
CW: sexual harassment
I was walking home at around midnight on a Wednesday. As I walked down [street name], I saw a drunk male wearing fraternity letters peeing into a potted plant.
After I passed him, he began closely following me and yelling unintelligibly, all with his penis still hanging out of his unzipped pants. Luckily, a group of strangers passed by, and I was able to join them, which discouraged him from harassing me further.
The experience was incredibly violating, especially because I lived only a block away. I am not sure what would have happened had I not been sober and lived so close by.
Being in a sorority has shown me the elitism, toxic masculinity, frequent discomfort, and bodily harm to non-males that fraternities perpetuate. I sometimes feel defensive, like I have to watch my back when going to fraternity parties.
CW: racism, racist language, fetishization
While I was dating a guy in [on-Locust Walk fraternity B] his fraternity “brother” consistently referred to me as his "Asian girlfriend."
Whenever he and I were not present, his "brothers" would make racist comments about kamikaze pilots. He actually got into a physical fight with one of his “brothers” after they made a racist comment which my ex-boyfriend overheard.
The “brothers” often justified my ex-boyfriend’s interest in me on “yellow fever.” Because of that, I was warned to stay away from other men who also had “yellow fever,” in other words: men who fetishized me for my race.
CW: graphic description of sexual violence
I was sexually assaulted at the [off-Locust Walk fraternity B] house … during my freshman year. A brother got me incapacitated with alcohol and forced me upstairs despite my insistence that I wanted to leave.
He pinned me down and forcibly fingered me on the roof of this house while the party continued below. I know many other women who were raped at this same fraternity house.
CW: racial discrimination
A lot of the time I go out to a party, I go with people of color. Sometimes the group is all students of color, or all but one. We get turned away from a certain fraternity hours (I think this was 'off-Locust Walk fraternity A]), and walking away we notice the brother who just told us to take a lap is letting in an all-white group of students. So we go back to the steps, tell the brother we saw him let in another group. Again we're turned away. The cycle continues. I don't even try to go to some frats anymore; I know they won't let me and my friends in.
A certain frat that I heard about before school even started, during New Student Orientation, was [on-Locust Walk fraternity D]. I was warned by upperclassmen never to go there because they discriminate against people of color and women a lot more than the other frats. The fact alone that I was warned about that specific frat shows there's a problem. And I think about that warning every day when I walk past that frat on Locust on my way to work.
I was harassed on Locust walking back to my dorm late on a Friday night. I had been studying with my friends who lived in Hill and walked back through Locust to get to my room in the Quad. I had done it many late nights before that, and had never had a problem, but it was a Friday night. Two guys were standing outside their frat on Locust with drinks, maybe beers, in hand. They yelled something like: why aren't you out tonight dancing with us? Come on in. Then they laughed. I almost didn't notice they were talking to me. I just speed-walked home after that.
I was singled out on Locust Walk by what appeared to be drunk White males. They approached me and called me a "fat pig" and called me a "lard ass" as they showed off their abs. I proceeded to return to my dorm and cry, not understanding why they would target me for no apparent reason. Situations like this perpetuate an already serious problem of weight stigma and make it difficult for students to feel comfortable in their bodies.
I am unaware of who the perpetrators are and feel like nothing can be done. Reporting the situation would be like reliving what occurred.
CW: graphic description of sexual violence
He and I were sitting on my bed, talking, and he kissed me. The hookup moved quickly, and both of our clothes came off. There was conversation at the beginning about what the other person was comfortable with. He said that he wanted to have anal sex, which I said that I didn’t want to do. He asked if I was okay with choking, and I said that a little bit was okay. He put on a condom and we started having sex. When he started choking me, it was harder than I thought it would be, enough that I froze and didn’t feel like I could get words out. We kept having sex, but after a while he stopped and said that the condom had come off inside of me. We kept having sex without a condom. I don’t know if he took it off inside me or if it was an accident. It was rough, and left a bruise on my collarbone. At one point, when he was on top of me and I was facedown, his whole weight was on top of me and I couldn’t move. I felt frozen. I didn’t say no, but I wanted it to stop.
Eventually, we stopped having sex. We sat and talked without clothes on. He started rubbing his penis against my leg as we were talking, and said “It’s okay.” Then, he climbed on top of me, put on a condom, and we started having sex again. There was no conversation about whether or not I wanted to have sex again. I wanted it to be over. I asked if we could have sex without the condom, hoping that he would finish and it would be over. Since the condom had already come off the first time, I didn’t feel like there would be any added risk. I thought that having sex without it would make the guy come more quickly.
When he left, I felt gross. I opened my window and took a really long, hot shower. Since I was into the hookup at the beginning, I didn’t feel like I could stop anything that happened after that.
A year after my experience, I decided that I wanted to go through a formal reporting process. At the end, the officer explained what the process would look like from here, and said that she was unwilling to move forward with the report. She said that there wasn’t enough evidence.
I went to a date night last year, themed was champagne and shackles. Overall, it was a pleasant enough experience, but one glaring annoyance occurred every time one of my date’s “brothers” would approach us. Maybe one out of ten boys acknowledged my existence, introduced themselves, or said hello, as if the women were just arm candy, or worse, dogs on leashes, expected to just sit pretty while the “men” chit chat. An utterly bizarre experience and borderline dehumanizing.
Within the first few weeks of my first-year at Penn, I was invited to “dirty rush” [Off-Locust Walk fraternity D] [...] We were led through the house to the living room near the back entrance of [off-campus housing complex]. There we did boat races and had to take cum-shots when our team lost. That was much more relaxed since the event was hosted by sortie sisters who were friends of the frat. Afterward we drank what was probably 4 or 5 drinks, we were brought up to [off-campus housing complex].
When we got to a room in [off-campus housing complex] there were two girls in front of the door guarding it. Before we went in I remembering asking them their names. For some reason they were reluctant to tell me their names. When we entered [off-campus housing complex] apartment, they had us blindfolded then sat us down. They then went up to us one by one asking us what their names were. Because we were blindfolded, most of us could not tell who it was (also I couldn’t recognize which voice belonged to who since they were practically yelling at us). After we failed to produce their names, they poured liquor and chocolate syrup into our mouths moved onto the next person. This process occurred a few times with different sorority sisters pouring liquor into our mouth and asking us what their names were. After the 3rd round, I didn’t want to drink, so I ended up closing my mouth and she poured the liquor over my face, and it got into my eyes through the blindfold. I immediately got up and asked for the restroom. When I washed my face and eyes in the sink, I realized I had syrup over my shirt and was covered in spilled alcohol. I felt like if I had anymore I was going to vomit. [...]
I did not feel at all comfortable reporting this to Penn’s administration. I don't think they would protect a first-year student from upperclassmen, especially ones recognized as leaders. Also, they can't protect me from Penn's culture of destroying people who inform the university about breaking policies.
CW: sexual harassment
I was followed back to my room by a guy after repeatedly stating I wanted to go alone. Once we were there I was very forcibly kissed and the man attempted to shove his way into my room. I continued protesting and arguing that I wanted to sleep, and that my roommate was asleep, to which he responded “I’ll be quiet” and continued trying to come in.
Eventually I got him to leave, but for months afterwards he kept trying to hangout as if nothing he did was wrong. We had never been friends and this was my first interaction with him.
I didn’t report this to Penn’s admin because I didn’t think it was serious enough.
CW: homophobia, harassment
I was verbally attacked by multiple members of a few different fraternities at various parties I attended in the past year. I’ve heard fraternity members slinging hurtful words at me such as “fag,” “queermo,” and “pansy,” as well as attacking me with homophobic comments such as “get in the closet where you belong,” “yo suck machine,” and “you’re such a pussy fag.”
CW: racism, sexism
Tale as old as time: being called ugly by frat brothers outside of their off-campus frat house and not being allowed into their party, while the white girls in our group were allowed in. They yelled to the two boys in our group, “Take your ugly bitches somewhere else,” referring to myself (multiracial) and my friend (southwest Asian).