Friday, October 05, 2018

Sexual assault, fraternity culture, and judges - in HUNGER MOON (part 2)

Readers are writing in to me this week to comment on the eerie similarities between the plot of my last Huntress novel, Hunger Moon, the misogynistic culture of all-male prep schools and fraternities, and the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh.  

(Part 1 is here).

Hunger Moon focused on the rape culture in fraternities that teaches privileged white boys that they can sexually assault girls and young women with impunity, and speculated that the accused sexual predator in the White House might well try to appoint a frat boy sexual predator to the Supreme Court.

I based the book on several real fraternities, including the one Brett Kavanagh belonged to at Yale. The frat has a long history of being suspended from multiple campuses for sexual assault and proposals of sexual violence, racism, dangerous hazing rituals, and alcohol abuse. The Yale chapter was notorious for its initiation chant, "No means Yes, Yes means anal." 

If you've been wondering how such a phenomenally unfit candidate is being forced onto the Supreme Court, consider this:

  • Of the nation’s 50 largest corporations, 43 are headed by fraternity men.
  • 85% of the Fortune 500 executives belong to a fraternity.
  • 40 of 47 U.S. Supreme Court Justices since 1910 were fraternity men.
  • 76% of all Congressmen and Senators belong to a fraternity.
  • Every U.S. President and Vice President  born since the first social fraternity was founded in 1825, except two in each office, have been members of a fraternity.
  • 63% of the U.S. President’s Cabinet members since 1900 have been Greek. 
(This is a list posted on dozens of university websites, attributed to the North American Interfraternity Conference.)
Are you beginning to see the problem?

In the Huntress books, women rise up to take action against sexual predators. The first step in eliminating misogyny is confronting the roots and extent of this scourge.

Here's another scene from the book that I based on the frat Kavanagh belonged to.

And in case you're wondering if I exaggerate misogynistic dialogue for effect - every bit of dialogue in the scene is based on real conversations between frat brothers.
Please don’t forget to register to vote.
-      -  Alex

The Basement was deep under the house, a huge three-story clinging to the cliff edge in a row of oceanfront houses along Del Playa. Outside the wall of windows and a sliding glass door, the long, well-used wooden deck overlooked the Pacific Ocean, and the sound of the surf was a constant rhythmic rumble.

The room inside was lit only by strings of Christmas lights and occupied by the shadowy figures of nine or ten young men in the prime of their lives. They were uniformly handsome: chiseled chins, silky tanned skin over taut six-pack abs, strong thighs. Any one of them could make decent money modeling for an ad depicting the Southern California experience.

At the moment, though, in the shadows, faces lit by the flashing lights of the digital sound system and the screens of their smartphones, they were so wasted that they looked more like thugs. They were seated around the table, sprawled on the sofas, sloppy drunk, with various bottles and red plastic beverage cups littering the end tables, the floor. And on the low table in front of them, a mirror smudged from lines of snorted substances.

Above them, one wall of the room was completely papered in photos: a collage of naked female body parts. Shots of breasts and thighs branded with Greek letters drawn in marker on the skin. Beaver shots, anal shots. Some full-length, candid photos of naked and half-naked girls, passed out, one or two in their own vomit. In some pictures boys were having sex with the girls—in these, the boys’ faces were never shown.

One of the young men addressed the wall. “Gettin’ tired of looking at the same ol’ tits and ass. Need some fresh wallpaper.”

Another one chimed in. “Hell yeah. Pledges are getting derelict. Gotta make ’em up their game.”

The first young man spoke again. “This time next week I want to see all new booty up there.”

There was a groundswell of approval. “Fuckin’ A right. New pussy.”

A chant started. “New pussy. New pussy. New pussy.”

“We need a challenge.”

“A fucken challenge, yeah.”

Their leader stood, unsteadily. “It’s coming to me . . .” He took a dramatic pause. “Valentine’s Day.”

A chorus of groans, boos. “Fuck that!”

“Hold on. Think it through. That shit is bait for the hos. We throw a big blowout, hearts and flowers and thongs . . .”

Now hearty laughs.

“The bitches will love it, and we get our pick of the gash. A Valentine’s party for them—and a Hunting Party for us.”

The room took up the cry. “Hunting Party! Hunting Party!”

“All pledges need to bring in twenty-five points. Five for titty shots.”

“Extra points for best heart-shaped ass!” a brother contributed from his seat on the floor.

“Extra points for asses with K-Tau letters written on ’em. Brand the bitches.”

“Ten for full frontal. Twenty for penetration. And—”

“Twenty-five for anal!” a big guy finished.

“Hey!” someone else protested. “Why should pledges get all the action?”

“Anyone can participate,” the alpha said magnanimously. “Cum one, cum all.” He raised his glass in a toast.

The boys all pounded their shots, then the room exploded in drunken chatter.

“We be fucking tomorrow. Totally fucking.”

“Get some bad bitches over here.”

“Cooper be flicken mo’ bean than an epileptic Mexican chef in a kitchen fulla strobe lights.”

“I’m goin’ hunting now. Got to crank out a few so I can last longer later.”

The leader turned and looked over the table, the smudged mirror. “Oh hell. Looka that. Someone’s hoovered up all the refreshments. Cutler, Vogel, you’re up. Bring back fortifications.”

The two frat brothers staggered out of the house into the fog. At the end of the block, Del Playa ran into a trailhead, morphed into twisting sand paths through a labyrinth of beach scrub on the bluffs.

Cutler and Vogel veered onto the trail, slogging in the sand. They panted with exertion, squinting through double vision, stumbling in the dark. The dorm complexes of Manzanita Village and San Rafael were distant, blurry lights in the fog. The Kappa Alpha Tau house’s main dealer lived in San Rafe and would be meeting them in the usual spot on the bluffs.

An occasional gleam of moonlight flashed on the rumbling dark expanse of the Pacific below. Otherwise, darkness. Silence.

Vogel kept turning, glancing into the dense woodland gloom beside the path.

“Dude, what is your problem?” Cutler complained.

“Someone in there,” Vogel slurred. “Inna scrub. Following us.”

“Yer trippin’, dude . . .”

“Huh-uh. Listen—”

Both boys jumped as the carillon bells suddenly tolled from Storke Tower in the center of campus. Cutler burst into manic laughter.

“Yeah, I’m hearing it now. Totally.”

He stumbled on ahead, leaving Vogel muttering behind him. “There was. There was someone—”

He staggered on in the dark—and nearly ran into Cutler, who had stopped in his tracks and was staring out over the thick scrub truculently. “Somebody out there? Who the fuck is following us? C’mon outta there, asshole.”

The shadows moved. Cutler tensed, his fists balling at his sides. The ocean thundered below them.

A figure loomed up, dark, hooded.

“Holy shiiiit!” Vogel yelped.

The figure advanced through the fog, pushing back its cowl to reveal a gleaming white face, hollow eye sockets. A skull.

The frat brothers stumbled backward, screaming, and the skeleton figure barreled toward them, implacable in the fog.


Fog drifts through the silent, towering redwoods of north campus in the cold, gray dawn.

A lone girl huddles into her coat as she scuttles on a meandering path through the grove, en route to a pre-class conference. Her breath is puffs of white in the fog. Squirrels scatter in front of her, frantic red zips of motion.

The path opens up in front of a looming curved stone wall, like the outside of an ancient Roman coliseum. Rough gray brick with black iron gates.

The girl halts in front of the gates, staring upward. She jolts backward . . . and begins to scream.

Two male figures hang from the arches of the stadium, by ropes around their necks.


All five books in The Huntress series currently on sale, $1.99.

Hunger Moon is the latest in the series, but The Huntress series is written to be read in order! Book 6, Shadow Moon, will be out in January.


                                                            ---- SPOILERS ----

In Hunger Moon, Roarke and his FBI team are forced to confront the new political reality when they are pressured to investigate a series of mysterious threats vowing death to college rapists... while deep in the Arizona wilderness, mass killer Cara Lindstrom is fighting a life-and-death battle of her own.

For thousands of years, women have been prey.

No more. 


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