The Sacred Purpose Blog

College. We’re adults now. We’ve heard a thing or two about the birds and the bees. It’s a time when many people begin to have sexual experiences. Whether or not it’s your first time, sex should be an enjoyable and consensual experience.

But then there’s drunk sex. In college you learn you might like alcohol; you might like to have sex. So is it a good idea to put the two together? The truth is, a lot of people are having drunk sex. It happens. People get drunk, have sex, and they might even think it’s consensual.Drunksex3

Picture This

You’re at a bar and having a few drinks when you notice someone. They’re having a drink too. You two hit it off right away and your flirt game is better than ever. What are the odds? One thing leads to another and you end up back at their place.

Now it’s morning.

Do you remember asking for consent, or did you wake up  and not even think about it?

Alcohol affects everyone differently. There is no way for you to tell if another person may be too intoxicated to give consent. They may wake up in the morning and realize that they were taken advantage of while under the influence, regardless of what you thought in the moment. Again, if alcohol is involved, there is NO WAY for you to tell if a person is capable of giving consent.

The news headlines blare: “Fraternity Guy Takes Advantage of Drunk College Girl.”

Maybe it seems unlikely to you that this can happen. You’re a “good guy” who doesn’t want to take advantage of anyone. The reality is, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 college aged women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

The best way to avoid sexually assaulting someone is to obtain consent. Each state legally defines consent in its own way. While this may seem confusing, RAIIN.org explains the three main components each state uses to define consent: freely given consent, affirmative consent, and capacity to consent. Our focus today is a person’s capacity to give consent. In many states, if a person has consumed any alcohol whatsoever, they legally DO NOT have the capacity to give consent.

You may ask: “So even if they said yes, verbally, enthusiastically, and we were both drunk, this can be considered rape? So every time I had drunk sex, I risked committing a sexual assault?”

Well; yeah.

Women are often taught ways to avoid being raped: Stay with friends, pour your own drinks, carry pepper spray, etc., but as a man, a fraternity man, what should we be taught? A good first step is opening the discussion on what consent is, and how and when to obtain it. Understand the fact that consent isn’t just a onetime question, but a continuous conversation. Realize that any amount of alcohol negates consent. Educate your members on effective bystander intervention and the role brothers can take to prevent sexual assault throughout the entire community. It is our Sacred Purpose to prevent sexual assaults, because even one is too many.

 

When you ask for consent, you respect the answer. Period.

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If you’re having trouble understanding consent, here’s a helpful video:

https://youtu.be/oQbei5JGiT8

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PJ Ricketson, Field Executive

I remember the day I knew I was gay. I began having those butterfly feelings in my stomach you hear about in the movies. It was then I knew deep down I had my first crush, and it was on a guy. I knew at that very moment I was not the same as everyone else.  I was young, however, and I didn’t really understand the concept of “gay.” Not yet, at least.

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For years afterwards, I told myself I had to like girls and anything less was unacceptable. I told myself the part of me who liked guys was just a collection of thoughts—it wasn’t real. While I would tell others I was straight, few would believe it. For years I was bullied because, to others, I seemed different. Every day at school was daunting and miserable; those were some of the darkest years of my life. Those who have been bullied know exactly what that’s like, and while I have forgiven, it is hard to forget.

In high school, I briefly dated a couple girls. Still, I noticed guys who were attractive to me. I told myself that attraction was just “thoughts.” While I never felt one hundred percent comfortable with my sexuality, I felt I finally put that part of me—those thoughts—behind me.

When I arrived at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) I became involved on campus through the Student Government Association. By second semester I accepted a bid to join an interest group that would become the Iota Tau chapter of Theta Chi. While we were still a colony, I began to date a woman at NKU. Even though I had told myself and others I was straight, people still suspected otherwise just as they had years before. The relationship just didn’t feel right, and after a month and a half I ended the relationship. I knew it hurt her, but I couldn’t keep pretending I was happy.

After that relationship, I put dating behind me. I accepted a position on a Cincinnati City Council campaign and devoted much of that summer to it and to my internship at the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. I was really happy working in politics and at the courthouse. In addition, Theta Chi was coming together very strong. By the time sophomore year began, I was beginning to come into my prime.

In November my candidate won a seat on Cincinnati City Council and our colony installed as the Iota Tau chapter of Theta Chi. I began to make a name for myself on campus. My self-confidence grew. When spring semester rolled in, I was appointed to the Interfraternity Council to serve as Vice President of Membership. It was also around this time I noticed someone in an unexpected way – through Twitter. One of my chapter brothers retweeted one of his tweets; I clicked on his profile and found he and I had similar political and social views.  I found him on Facebook and sent an innocuous friend request; he accepted it and we began to chat and learn more about each other. As we chatted more and more, I could tell there was a feeling greater than friendship. That part of me—those thoughts—had begun to come back. This time, however, I could not just put those thoughts away. This time was different, and I knew it. I felt it.PRGP

By February, things with this guy progressed and we admitted we liked each other. That is when I knew it was time for me to come out.

My chapter brothers immediately came to mind, so at one of our chapter meetings in February I came out, initially as bisexual so I could still hold out hope that I would be “normal.” In my mind, being bisexual was still better than being gay. I was very nervous doing it, but I hoped my brothers would be accepting: that’s exactly what they were. After meeting about a dozen brothers came up to me and congratulated me.  One of my brothers said, “All I want is for you to be happy; I’m glad you came out.” They all told me how proud they were of me, and for the first time I felt completely normal.

Things did not work out with that guy. Soon after, however, I dated another guy and I knew I was gay. Not bisexual, but gay. That was my truth and I was finally able to live in it.

The fraternal movement has not always been known to be accepting of its LGBTQ members. There are countless examples from the past—both told and untold—of fraternities hazing, bullying, and kicking out brothers who either came out or whom they suspected of being gay. The most operative word there is “past.”

This is the present.

My Theta Chi brothers created a culture of caring through our collective Sacred Purpose which I needed to finally develop the courage to be who I am and nothing less. In a way, Theta Chi and Greek life saved my life. Without their acceptance, I don’t believe my mental health, to this day, would be in a strong place. Holding onto that burden was one of the hardest things I have ever done. With their support, I live authentically. I live my best life. Theta Chi took a timid college freshman who was lying to himself about his sexuality and helped him become a confident and proud man.

 

I don’t think I would be where I am today, a First Year at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, without the loving, respectful, and accepting environment that exists in Theta Chi Fraternity. These ideals are the Sacred Purpose we are all called to live. We need to remember this and put it in practice every single day.

 

Patrick Reagan (Iota Tau/Northern Kentucky 2016)

Three weeks ago this Saturday, the game changed.

Every year, thousands of collegians on campuses all across North America participate in leadership events, community building exercises, self-help seminars, personal development, team building trainings, and countless other activities which will ultimately define who they become once they leave their college/university. This has been the standard for decades for members of Greek letter organizations. Get your education but also live and learn outside the classroom. While the intent has always been there, fraternities have not always been the best at being able to quantify and articulate exactly what the fraternal experience is. This all changed July 23, 2016, when we launched The Resolute Man.

The feeling in the room was electrifying. As I began to field questions during the launch and in the days that followed I could see the wheels start to turn in the minds of our collegians and for some, I could see when it clicked.

CamRMSP“This is what we have been waiting for!” one brother quipped. “Resolute Man will make is so much easier for me to explain to non-members or even their parents the benefits of fraternity membership,” said another brother.

The Resolute Man for all intents and purposes is a road map to getting the most out of your collegiate experience. It highlights educational and experiential opportunities for collegians to fully engage in, not only through their academic pursuits on campus, but it also serves as pathway to instill leadership and social competency into their own personal and eventually professional lives.

It is true, the Resolute Man is a four-year journey for our collegiate members. What is truly special about Resolute Man is it purposely absorbs and adopts the tenets of Sacred Purpose; something which, when done correctly, can have a great impact on the lives of our entire membership and not just a single member.

Sacred Purpose’s mission is to foster a sense of responsibility in the protection of our brothers and our communities. The pillars of Sacred Purpose can all be traced back to the idea of creating true friendships rooted in learning and caring for one another. This can been seen in the updated leadership structure within local chapters, new advisor roles dedicated to health and safety, and the over 800 events created and implemented over the past two years. Creating opportunities for our collegians to have critical conversations with their chapter and their communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of our collective Sacred Purpose.

The Resolute Man makes it a priority for any collegian going through this journey to not only attend Sacred Purpose events put on by his chapter, it also requires them to help plan and implement an event themselves. A Resolute Man is a leader in his chapter and on his campus and through Sacred Purpose a Resolute Man is dedicated to the safety of his brothers and his community.

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History was made in Theta Chi Fraternity with the Resolute Man and Sacred Purpose is an essential part of this historic move. I cannot wait to watch our collegians and eventually our alumni (myself included) achieve this historic distinction.

For more information, CLICK HERE

1000 days is a long time. You could walk coast-to-coast across the U.S. multiple times. You could spend a weekend in every country in the world. You could write a book, bring a child into the world, and train for a marathon, and you would still have time left over.

For more than 1000 days I have mourned the loss of my brother, Gilad Nissim.

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March 26, 2013 was the last time I saw my friend. March 27th came and Gil, a freshman sitting in his dorm room, called his Dad complaining of a headache. After his conversation, Gil took the elevator down from his residence hall to grab lunch, took three steps outside of his building, and collapsed on the ground.

Gil was taken to the hospital where it was determined he suffered from an aneurism and was in a coma. Gil was in good health, but we soon learned he suffered from a condition called Arteriovenous Malformation, or AVM. He had a blood clot in his brain. A tangled mess of nerves in his skull, assumed to have been there since he was a child, just waiting to go off like a neurological time bomb.

 

Gil spent the next few months in the Maryland hospital before being transported to Israel where his family was located, and they would be able to try some experimental treatments. In November it was determined the son and brother we all came to know was not going to return to us, and he was taken off life support. He passed away on November 13, 2013.

I will never forget my Chapter President, Ben Caffey, calling us in for an emergency meeting that next Sunday afternoon. Ben, standing at the front of the room, was forced to shoulder the heavy burden of telling his chapter our 19-year-old brother would never awake from his coma. The kid who never ceased to put a smile on our faces, whether it was being the first to volunteer for an event, or having the uncanny ability of friend-zoning himself with every girl he met… he was gone.

There is something eerie about the death of someone younger than yourself. It brings into question a lot of truths you may have never been forced to consider. We grow up watching our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and sometimes even our parents pass. Unfortunately, all this conditioning does not quite prepare you for the untimely death of not only a teenager, but a teenager who was among the best of us. A physics major who applied for internships that PhD’s barely qualify for. But that was Gil: so bold in his actions that his genius could never be questioned with totality.

Gil’s death brought about a great deal of grief and I was forced to cope with the far-too-early loss of my friend. Coping comes in the most unique ways – for me it was restlessness. I needed to put my efforts into something meaningful for Gil, so we began work on a candlelight vigil.

As Greeks, we are day in and day out, pit against each other in competition. We compete in recruitment, athletics,  philanthropy, community service, and socially and are constantly measuring our own success based on the results of others. In an instant, all of that pettiness faded away.

I met with Matt Lenno, our Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and he began giving me some information about how we could start putting something together for Gil. I sat in rooms with the
Panhellenic President, IFC President, and leaders from every fraternity on campus; each of them extending their own assisting hand to our memorial event. They each came forward with a donation for candles, offering aspects of their own fraternity’s ritual towards the loss of not just my Theta Chi brother, but a member of a larger brotherhood –of all Greeks.

On a bone-chilling November evening, while swirling winds threatened to blow out the 1000+ candles that were lit, a community of caring and mutual respect was cultivated. Our Sacred Purpose is to take care of our brothers and our community. That night our community took care of us.

In the 3 years since Gil’s death, it does not feel any easier, but it does feels more hopeful. Not because I hope to see him again in life, but because I saw the 1000+ people who showed up for his vigil, and I see them honoring him still to this day. It is a quick look at the bracelet I’ve worn on my wrist in his memory each day, or those who make a Facebook post on his wall telling his family we remember him. Gil’s impact will continue through those who remember him.Gilad vigil

 

 

 

 

 

It is impossible to understand why Gil died. It still feels tragic and wasteful. At the age of 23, how to understand death is still a mystery to me. The only thing I can do is attempt to understand Gil’s life.

 I can understand what Gil did each day that made people fall in love with the good in him.

 I can work every day to live it in a way that Gil would be proud of.

 I miss you, Gil – thank you for being my brother and sharing your good with the world.

 

Kevin Kutner, Field Executive

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