On September 12, the Barnard Center for Research on Women will welcome alumna Estelle Freedman ’69, professor of history at Stanford University, for a lecture on her new book, Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation, which was recently highlighted by The Daily Beast. An excerpt from the article:
“For much of American history, white men could own others’ bodies—not only black men and women in slavery, but also white women in marriage. Until quite recently, for instance, it was not illegal for a husband to rape his wife. In the 19th century, if a young woman was raped and impregnated, her father could even sue the assailant for the lost income from his daughter’s incapacitation. Slave owners could buy black women specifically to serve their sexual urges.
With emancipation and other reforms, the laws evolved, but the practice did not. “Legal change,” Freedman said in an interview with The Daily Beast, “does not necessarily change culture.””