Dean Anderson in Salon on Evolving Definition of Rape

Dean Michelle J. Anderson discussed the public’s understanding of the evolving definition of rape in a recent article. In New York, state law defines rape as “forcible vaginal penetration.” A bill in the process of being introduced to the state legislature seeks to change the definition of rape to include all forced sexual penetration.  ”What the legislature does is a factor, but it’s not the only factor in how society conceives of the crime,” said Anderson. “It’s an amalgam of popular media, consciousness being raised by non-governmental organizations and public interest organizations, sexual education — there are a lot of factors that influence how a society conceives of rape.”

Dean Anderson is a leading scholar on rape law. Her articles have been published in the Boston University Law Review, George Washington Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, Rutgers Law Review, Southern California Law Review, and University of Illinois Law Review, among others. Her article redefining what rape should be legally, “Negotiating Sex,” was selected as the core text on rape law in Criminal Law Conversations, published by Oxford University Press in 2009.

Read more