CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Suk on Rusk and Rape Reform

Suk_Jeannie Jeannie Suk (Harvard University - Harvard Law School) has posted 'The Look in His Eyes': The Story of State v. Rusk and Rape Reform (CRIMINAL LAW STORIES, Robert Weisberg, Donna Coker, eds., 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This chapter for Criminal Law Stories (Robert Weisberg & Donna Coker eds., 2010), tells the story of State v. Rusk through the lens of rape law reform. Beginning in the 1970s, under the influence of feminism, some prevailing attitudes and expectations about sex between men and women started to change. Edward Rusk was like many guys who didn’t think he just had to stop because a girl who seemed interested said she didn’t want to have sex. He was convicted of rape at the cusp of legal transformation, when sexual behavior that had been socially commonplace was rapidly in the midst of being recast as criminal. Drawing on many interviews with lawyers, judges, and other people involved in the case, I tell the story of when and how a set of social norms of sex and dating became unacceptable. This is a story of the legal role and consequences of that social change

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Having "come of age" as a male during the early 70s, I can tell you that some of the behavior of young men towards women, specifically in college settings, was ludicrous and disgusting. From a purely moral perspective, I believe that the believe that the intent of a perpetrator like Rusk was as wrong before attitudinal and legal changes as it is now. I heard many a post-keg party story about someone being taken advantage of due to inebriation and it smacked as much of rape then as it does now. But I never heard of one instance where a complaint was lodged. Thank God we have moved forward.

Posted by: Terry | Feb 9, 2010 11:48:53 AM

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