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Law professor recommends telling college women they can kill their alleged rapists


‘Always … temperate’ remarks by Duke lacrosse rape pundit

If you want to end “rape culture” on campus, kill the men?

An adjunct professor of sexual violence law at New England Law-Boston is suggesting vigilante justice as a way to get colleges to tilt their Title IX adjudication proceedings even further toward accusers.

Wendy Murphy, who also directs the Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project at the law school, tweeted about a teenager who was sentenced to five years in prison in Sudan for killing her husband as he tried to have sex with her against her will.

And then the former prosecutor connected legally permissible marital rape in Sudan to alcohol-fueled hookups on American college campuses:

In many states, it is considered self-defense to kill a rapist. Women don’t know this about their rights. They need to be educated & trained. If campus victims knew they had a right to kill, schools would FINALLY do a good job preventing rape, to avoid all the dead bodies. #MeToo

Some Twitter users took exception to Murphy’s suggestion, with one pointing out that Murphy could be seen as encouraging violence against students accused of conduct that is not considered assault outside of campus codes.

Murphy simply confirmed that while students could get expelled for such killing, they wouldn’t go to jail.

Brooklyn College Prof. KC Johnson, co-author of The Campus Rape Frenzy, deadpanned that Murphy was “always … temperate.”

He compared her new statement to her history of “fact-free claims” as a cable-news pundit in the Duke University lacrosse rape case. The accused players were eventually exonerated and their prosecutor disbarred and jailed for a day.

College Fix readers may recognize Murphy’s name. She filed a long-shot lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s* interim Title IX guidance; conflated Obama administration Title IX guidance, which is nonbinding, with Title IX itself; and was invited to “train” campus administrators in Obama’s guidance.

The Fix has asked New England Law-Boston for comment.

A law professor at George Washington University contacted The Fix after this article was published, giving a partial defense of Murphy’s recommendation.

John Banzhaf, who has recommended training young women to fight off would-be attackers they already know, wrote in an email the distinction turns on whether deadly force is “reasonably necessary” to prevent a “forcible rape.”

Such language is found in most states’ criminal statutes, such as New York’s, he said: “In other words, the killing of a rapist may be legally justified even if the person using the deadly force made a mistake, providing the mistake was not unreasonable.”

The problem is when campus rules and norms for sexual consent are confused with legal requirements, Banzhaf said:

In most states, consent is irrelevant, and having sex even after she says “NO” doesn’t necessar[il]y constitute rape. …

Indeed, if force or the threat of force was not used, even the fact that the complainant said “No!” or “Don’t!” or “I Don’t Consent” doesn’t make it rape in the absence of the use of force or the threat of force.

Follow Murphy on Twitter.

UPDATE: George Washington University Law Prof. John Banzhaf contacted The Fix after this post was published to give a partial defense of Murphy’s recommendation. His thoughts have been added.

MORE: Wendy Murphy’s nonsensical lawsuit against Betsy DeVos

h/t #RepealVAWA


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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.