Hate To Break It To You, Media: Women At BYU Are Safer Than On Any Other Campus

JaredWhitleySo, one of the reasons I chose to attend the University of Utah instead of Brigham Young University is I didn’t want to deal with the Honor Code. Not for any salacious purposes, mind you, I just am slightly lazy when it comes to the subject of facial hair.

However, the BYU Honor Code has come under considerable scrutiny recently for much more severe reasons, with a series of articles in The Salt Lake Tribune (and other outlets) insinuating that the Honor Code makes women there easy pickings for sexual predators.

There might be truth to that. I really don’t know. I seriously doubt it, and it’s hard for me to take these insinuations seriously when reporters skate around the fact that BYU forbids two of the largest contributing co-factors to campus assaults through the Honor Code, and thereby protects far more women than it could put at risk. It’s not a perfect system; nothing is, but it’s better than anywhere else.  

Anyone with a scrap of intellectual honesty has to acknowledge that BYU is the safest campus on Earth for young women.

Overwhelmingly, irrefutably, alcohol – which is forbidden at BYU – is the fuel of college assaults. According to the Campus Safety Magazine, which culled its report from a variety of sources including the US Department of Justice:

  • At least 50% of college student sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use.

  • In 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated.

  • 43% of the sexual victimization incidents involve alcohol consumption by victims, and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators.

  • 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.

Another study reports that 15% of college women will be assaulted while incapacitated from alcohol (or drugs) in their freshman year alone!

There are reasons that BYU takes pride in regularly being recognized as the worst party school in America. Because “party” is sometimes a euphemism for “rape.”

Speaking of which, by forbidding a fraternity/sorority system, BYU further protects its students. The same report notes that:

  • Students living in sorority houses are THREE times more likely to be raped than students living off-campus housing.

  • Fraternity men have been identified as being more likely to perpetrate sexual assault/aggression than nonfraternity men. The Guardian reported that frat brothers commit rape 300% more than the average college-going male.

Now my math could be off here, but if your Friday night involves a) not drinking and b) not attending a party at a frat house, your chances of avoiding rape increase about 27 times.

Now, of course, this is a very sensitive issue, so I don’t want people rushing to their comment sections to accuse me of saying that women who drink and join sororities are “asking for it.” Of course, I’m not saying that. I also wouldn’t say that someone killed in a car accident was “asking for it” if they didn’t put on a seat belt. (But I still always put one on and insist that people in my car do the same thing.) What I am saying is that alcohol can cause enormous damage by impairing someone’s judgment and capacity to consent.

Some have said that the fact that so few assaults are reported at BYU is a sign of how many assaults there are! … But saying “My proof is I have no proof” seems specious at best, given that the primary ingredients in the sexual assault recipe are missing.

So if you want to protect young, vulnerable women – away from home for the first time – from the dangers of sexual assault: get rid of booze, get rid of fraternities. BYU did that, making it the safest campus on Earth (except for possibly BYU-Idaho).