Sex Drive Blurs Line Surrounding Assault

Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: sex, college



Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history at New York University. He is writing a history of sex education.

When I was a college newspaper editor, in the early 1980s, I ran a series of stories about a student who had been sexually abused at a fraternity house. She was trapped in a "naked man's meeting," as her tormentors called it, where they masturbated in front of her and refused to let her leave the room.

I was appalled by their behavior, of course. But I was also shocked by the angry letters and phone calls I received, defending the perpetrators and denouncing the victim as "that kind of girl," a slut, a whore.

Federal lawsuits

I thought of this episode as I read about the lawsuit filed earlier this month by four students against the University of Connecticut, charging the university did not properly investigate their sexual assault accusations. After she reported being raped, one student claims, a campus detective told her he didn't believe her. He then failed to interview key witnesses, she alleges....




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