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The Look in his Eyes: The Story of State v. Rusk and Rape Reform

February 23, 2011

On February 23, 2011 at 5 PM in Langdell North, the IGLP hosted a talk by HLS Professor Jeannie Suk on her article The Look in his Eyes: The Story of State v. Rusk and Rape Reform.

Professor Suk’s article 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, like many men, didn’t think he just had to stop because a woman 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, Professor Suk tells the story of when and how a set of social norms of sex and dating became unacceptable, and the legal role and consequences of that social change.

You can download a copy of Prof. Suk’s paper HERE

The commentators for Prof. Suk’s lecture included Prof. Katharine B. Silbaugh (Law Alumni Scholar, Professor of Law, Boston University), Prof. Duncan Kennedy (Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School) and Prof. Janet Halley (Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School).


February 23, 2011
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