The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 11, 1979-Page 7
PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF ISR STUDY
1975 Rape law revisions helping victims
By VICKI HENDERSON
A University researcher yesterday
said 30 per cent more rapes were repor-
ted in Michigan in 1977 than in 1972, and
the increase may be due in part to the
1975 revision of the state's rape laws.
"We don't know yet, whether this (the
increase) is because there are more
sexual assaults occurring or whether
women feel more comfortable (due to
the revision) reporting assaults or
what," said Alison Geist, research
associate at the Institute of Social
GEIST ADDED that 90 per cent more
sexual assault prosecutions were suc-
cessful in 1977 than in 1972, and arrests
on those charges increased by 62 per
The Center for Research on
Utilization of Scientific Knowledge
(CRUSK) of ISR currently is involved
in a study of how crisis centers and the
Michigan rape law revisions made four
years ago effect rape victims.
Conducting the study are Prof.
Nathan Caplan and Prof. Jeanne Marsh
of the University of Chicago. The data
has been obtained from interviews with
175 criminal justice officials conducted
over the past 18 months.
"WE'VE TALKED to judges, police
officers, defense and prosecuting attor-
neys, and crisis centers in five
(Michigan) counties," said Geist.
The study final results will be
available in June is concerned
primarily with the rape law revision.
"Women were essentially being
raped in the courtroom," said Geist.
She said victim-blaming, "bringing the
woman's sex past into the courtroom,"
allowed many .defendants to be
THE NEW sexual conduct laws in
Michigan prohibit victim-blaming
which Geist claims has improved the
effectiveness of prosecutions. "Sex past
is being kept out of the courtrooms for
the most part," she said.
The traditional rape law treated rape
as a "sex crime" rather than one of
violence. The information packet
"Background Material for a Proposal
for Criminal Code Reform to Respond
to Michigan's Rape Crisis" from the
Michigan's Women's Task Force on
Rape, called for rape to be handled in
the same manner as any other violent
crime. "Rape is much more than an act
of sex unwanted by the victim," the
Task Force wrote. "The abuse invqlved
in rape resembles healthy sexual union
about as much as murder resembles
the peaceful death of old age," they
said. The previous laws were set up as
protection of "virginity and chastity"
rather than in terms of rights of
freedom and privacy.
The revised criminal sexual conduct
law defines rape in four degrees. The
first degree, "sexual penetration ac-
complished by threats of injury with a
dangerous weapon or serious personal
'Women were essentially being
raped in the courtroom.'
-Alison Geist, ISR researcher,
injury to the victim" is punishable by a
maximum of 20 years in prison. The
fourth degree, punishable by a
maximum of one year or a $500 fine, is
defined as "forcible or coercive sexual
contact without use of a weapon or
serious personal injury."
ANOTHER revision of the law was
that women "need not resist to the ut-
most" if they are being sexually
assaulted, Geist said this has also been
helpful. "Women are socialized to be
more passive," she said, and resistance
may cause further harm to the victim.
The criminal sexual conduct law also
makes sexual contact, or touching
genitals, a criminal act. "For exam-
ple, 'said Geist, "if a man pinches you
in ao elevator, the law says you can
take him to court. Some judges would
probably laugh at something like this,
The' Task Force attempted to in-
troduce a resolution in the state
legislature that would grant equal
protection for married women. In its
background information, the Task For-
ce said the traditional view in cases of
rape of married women made
prosecutions legally impossible. It
states, "The sexual organs of the
female, the source of heirs to the male's
estate, belonged to the husband. It was
thus impossible for him to rape her as it
could not be illegal for him to make use
of his own property."
SEVERAL STATES (Oregon,
Delaware, Nebraska, and New Jersey)
have provisions in their sexual conduct
codes for spouse rape cases.
Michigan also lowered the age of con-
sent to 13 in 1975, Geistadded.
Geist said the "old rape mythology"
is dissolving. She said she feels the
redefinition of the law has changed the
way people look at the crime.
THE LAW not only redefines the
crime but also expands the definition of
rape. Criminal sexual conduct is the
term replacing "rape."
Virginia Nordby, policy coordinator
for the, University, was one of those
responsible for drafting the legislation.
The neutral terms of the bill, she said,
were "to conform to the Equal Rights
Amendment." Male rapes have oc-
curred, added Nordby, primarily in
prisons, but not in the same numbers as
they have for women.
James Hill of the SOS Crisis Center in
Ann Arbor said reported rapes "did in-
crease slightly. He also said the most
important revision for victims was
"more concern for victims' rights than
protecting the defendant. Victims still
fear "how they will be treated in
court," he added.
The increase in reported rapes and in
prosecutions "indicates that the
criminal justice system is taking the
crime seriously rather than trivializing
it as they have in the past," said Geist.
march against rape
EAST LANSING (UPI) - The Lan- "Many women feel restricted, at
sing chapter of the Natinal night, as to how they come and go."
Organization for Women (NOW) and State Rep. Debbie Stabenow, (D-
the Michigan State University (MSU) Lansing), will speak at the march,
women's studies program are spon- along with other feminist spokesper-
soring a campus-wide "march to stop sons.
rape" May 23 at the student union. AT THE administration building,
The march, to "reclaim the night," speakers will present a list of demands
will take place at 8 p.m., organizers focusing on the issue of rape and the
said. After several opening speeches, needs of the campus and the com-
the participants will march from the munity.
Union to Beaumont Tower and Berkey Demands for the MSU campus in-
Hall on campus, stopping at the Ad- lude a rape counseling program at the
ministration Building. student health center, increased foot
The planned route is in high rape patrols and a rape education program.
areas, according to Paula Yensen, Community demands will include
president of the Lansing NOW chapter. specific rape patrols, sensitivity
"THE GOAL of the march is to training for police and a 911 emergency
reclaim the night that rightfully telephone line.
belongs to women as much as to men," As many as 600 persons are expected
Yensen said. to attend the march.
State sells $90 million in
bonds for priority projects
LANSING (UPI) - The sale of nearly " A campus medical library here at
$90 million in state bonds to finance the University.
eight priority projects across the state ' The Ypsilanti Correctional
has been approved by the State Facility.
Building Authority. e A vocational skills center at
SBA Chairman Duane Renken said Michigan Technological University.
yesterday the 6.365 per cent interest : * A vocational skills center at Nor-
rate was significantly less than he had them Michigan University.
anticipated - meaning a "substantial " A classroom and office building at
saving" to taxpayers. Oakland University.
Proceeds from the bond sale will be " A campus library at the University
used for: of Michigan at Dearborn.
Friday, May 11 Aud. A, Angell Hall
SILENT RUNNING (Douglas Trumbull, 1972)
By the Special Effects Director for 2001: A Space Odyssey, an ecological sci-fi
that features Bruce Dern as a dedicated botanist. He sacrifices the lives of
his space freighter shipmates and his chance to return to Earth to save the
last remaining forests, plants, and animals from an order which commands
the projects immediate termination. Dern fervently hopes for the day that
the Earth would once again' be a hospitable environment for his precious
vegetation-a'trulyexcitin and imaginative endingl Also starring a set of
very human robots that wou outsmart R2D2 anvday! (90 min)
TONITE AT .TICKETS
7:30 & 9:30 '$1.50 each
Cinema i is now accepting new member applications. Pick them up
at all of our film showings.
The Ann Arbor Film ooperative presents at MLB 3
FRIAY, MAY 11
HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
(Sidney Lanfield, 1939) 7 & 18:20-MLS 3
The incomparable Basil Rathbone as the incomparable Sherlock Holmes-
the role he was born to play. In this adaptation of Conan Doyle, the heads
of the Baskerville family meet a gruesome end-seemingly ripped apart by
a giant hound. Holmes deploys his powers of deduction to battle a Fiend in
Human Shape, a Hound of Hell, and the Great Grympen Moor. Without gun,
whip, chair, or Liv-a-Snaps, can Holmes succeed? You bet your deersta ker
hecan, with thrills, chills, and acrane lore galore. Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.
THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
(Alfred Werker, 1939) S:4*only-MLB 3
"Watson, the game's afoot!" This time Holmes must defend the crown Jewels
agairtt a Fiend in Human Shape. The pure light of Reason versus diabolic
ingenuity, as Holmes whirls like a derivish in a paroxysm of raised eyebrows,
perfect elocution, and hilarious disguises. The music-hall turn alone is worth
the ticket price. Basil Rathbone (Holmes incarnate), Nigel Bruce (cute 'n'
cuddly), and a lovely, young Ida Lupino.
TOMORROW; James Dean in EAST OF EDEN
ar REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
Alfred Hitchcock's 1938
THE LADY VANISHES
British cinema was never better as when Hitchcock was directing such
classics as "The 39 Steps" and this comedy-romance-thriller. A young woman
(MARGARET LOCKWOOD), on a last fling before marrying "a blue blooded
cheque cashier strikes up a friendship with a witty old woman aboard a tram.
The old lady (Dame May Whitty) disappears and no one admits ever seeing
her. A young r.-n,(MICHAEL RODGRAVE) naturally becomes interested and
involved with the mysterious circumstances.
SHORT: Ann Arbor Filmmakers-107%--Jahn Nelson (1979)
sat; DaV Lean's DR. ZHIVAGO
TONIGHT AT OW ARCH AUD
C1NEMA GUILD 7:30&:30. $1.50