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Power, Privilege, and Fraternity Men's Perceptions of Sex and Sexual Violence: A Phenomenological Study

Justine Diener O'Leary, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Sexual violence is a prevalent concern on college campuses (see Washington Post & Kaiser Family Foundation, 2015; Cantor et al., 2015). Men are the primary perpetrators of sexual violence (Black et al., 2011), with particular groups, such as fraternity men, particularly prone to perpetrating sexual violence (Foubert et al., 2007). The CDC (2014, 2021) recommends utilizing a social-ecological model of prevention that address risk factors at four levels: individual, relational, community, and societal. The purpose of the present transcendental phenomenological pilot study was to explore fraternity men’s perceptions of systemic influences on sex, consent, and sexual violence. Utilizing a modified social-ecological framework, I asked participants to describe their experiences with and perceptions of sex, romantic relationships, consent, masculinity, gender roles, alcohol use, and sexual violence as well as their perceptions of the systemic influences (i.e., individual, relational, community, and societal) on these areas. Ten White, heterosexual, cisgender, Christian men (i.e., men with privilege and power) participated. Five textural (i.e., Views on Sex, Relationships, and Consent; Views on Masculinity and Gender Roles; Perceptions of Greek life; Witnessing Sexual Violence; and Thoughts on Prevention) and four structural (i.e., Individual, Relational, Community, and Societal) themes, as well as subthemes, emerged. Practical implications, future research directions, and limitations of the present study are also discussed.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Gender studies|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Diener O'Leary, Justine, "Power, Privilege, and Fraternity Men's Perceptions of Sex and Sexual Violence: A Phenomenological Study" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28649276.