The most assertive of the misfits figured out the

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successfully created social lives outside the floor. The most assertive of the “misfits” figured out the dynamics of the floor in the first weeks and transferred to other residence halls. However, most students on our floor lacked the identities or network connections nec- essary for entry into alternative worlds. Life on a large university campus can be over- whelming for first-year students. Those who most needed an alternative to the social world of the party dorm were often ill-equipped to actively seek it out. They either integrated themselves into partying or found themselves alone in their rooms, microwaving frozen din- ners and watching television. A Christian focus group participant described life in this resi- dence hall: “When everyone is going out on a Thursday and you are in the room by yourself and there are only two or three other people on the floor, that’s not fun, it’s not the college life that you want.” Discussion and Implications We have demonstrated that processes at individual, organizational, and interactional levels contribute to high rates of sexual assault. 14 Some individual level characteristics that shape the likelihood of a sexually dangerous party scene developing are not explicitly gendered. Party rape occurs at high rates in places that cluster young, single, party-oriented people con- cerned about social status. Traditional beliefs about sexuality also make it more likely that one will participate in the party scene and increase danger within the scene. This university contributes to sexual danger by allowing these individuals to cluster. 13. While “knowing” one’s male party-mates may offer some protection, this protection is not comprehensive. Sorority women, who typically have the closest ties with fraternity men, experience more sexual assault than other col- lege women (Mohler-Kuo et al. 2004). Not only do sorority women typically spend more time in high-risk social situa- tions than other women, but arriving at a high-status position on campus may require one to begin their college social career as one of the anonymous young women who are frequently victimized. 14. Our recommendations echo and extend those of Boswell and Spade (1996:145) and Stombler and Martin (1994:180).
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Sexual Assault on Campus 495 However, congregating people is not enough, as parties cannot be produced without resources (e.g., alcohol and a viable venue) that are difficult for underage students to obtain. University policies that are explicitly gender-neutral—such as the policing of alcohol use in residence halls—have gendered consequences. This policy encourages first-year students to turn to fraternities to party. Only fraternities, not sororities, are allowed to have parties, and men structure parties in ways that control the appearance, movement, and behavior of female guests. Men also control the distribution of alcohol and use its scarcity to engineer social interactions. The enforcement of alcohol policy by both university and Greek organiza- tions transforms alcohol from a mere beverage into an unequally distributed social resource.
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