Marchers Along Fraternity Row Urge Sex Assault Survivors to Break Silence

March 06, 2017 12:04 PM

About 200 demonstrators had a message to share on the campus of the University of Minnesota Saturday.

And their path intentionally took them to Fraternity Row along University Avenue.


The march was organized by Sarah Super, a sexual assault survivor and head of "Break the Silence" movement. "We are calling on fraternities to hold themselves to a higher standard," she said.

The protest came after sexual misconduct issues surfaced involving some university fraternity members at different organizations. A few of the allegations were deemed so serious they led to the emergency suspension of Delta Upsilon last month.  

RELATED: Police Investigating Alleged Rape at U of M Involving Fraternity Member, Pledge

Abby Honold spoke at the rally. She says she survived an assault by a DU member and encouraged others to break their silence as well.

"We need to urge members of fraternities and sororities to speak out against other members of Greek life without fear of retribution," Honold said.

Dawson Kimyon spoke at the march as a former fraternity member himself.

"There were aspects of a cover-up I consider to be nefarious and highly orchestrated," he said. "The pervasive tactic was weaponized silence."  

RELATED: U of M Fraternity Suspended

A report by the National Institute of Justice revealed that men who join fraternities are three times more likely than non-greek students to commit a sex crime.

The report also shows that 25 percent of sorority members say they've been victimized.

A pledge of a different fraternity claimed a member assaulted him at an off-campus apartment.  That member has been suspended and police are investigating.  

The victim said the fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, has done everything properly in supporting him.

That was the message repeated by marchers for one hour along one mile of fraternity row Saturday.

"Let's show survivors we believe and support them whether or not the men are held accountable," Super said.

Super was referring to the fact that none of the alleged suspects have been arrested. Investigations are ongoing.

Each year, the state Office of Higher Education studies the number and circumstances involved in the complaints. In 2015, there were 300 complaints of sex assault on campuses statewide. The U of M-Twin Cities had the highest number, at 47.


Beth McDonough

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