Teaching Rape in a Criminal Law Class
I am teaching Criminal Law this semester and just finished a unit on rape. I am always fascinated by the number of colleagues I encounter who do not teach rape in their introductory criminal law class, presumably because they fear the topic is too controversial or inflammatory. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine not teaching it. It’s a topic that unfortunately touches so many students’ lives and also serves as a wonderful example of how changing social norms and the criminal law shape — and reflect — each other. I also find every year that my two classes on rape law contain some of the most thoughtful and engaging class discussions of the entire semester. I am always tremendously proud of the way my students approach the materal. But maybe my perspective is unique and I would love to hear other thoughts. For our law professor readers, do you include a unit on rape, and why or why not? For our law student readers, did you find it important or useful to cover rape law in your introductory crim law course?