A Sisyphean Task: Anti-Rape Activism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1970s-1990s Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • February 26, 2019
  • Foster, Margaret
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • My research indicates that over the last half century, anti-rape activism at UNC went through four basic phases—-each demonstrating a pattern of tension between students, activists and the University, all of whom were collectively struggling to define and address the issue of sexual assault. By examining these different waves of anti-rape activism at UNC, my thesis argues that inaccurate conceptions of campus rape and sexual assault led to ineffective solutions that did not address the problem in its entirety. Indeed, the current seeming lack of any serious or visible progress in combatting sexual violence at UNC is a result of the school’s complicated history with rape and sexual assault: almost forty years of incorrectly diagnosing the problem, implementing superficial policies and security measures to combat the problem, failing to find a consistent definition of the problem, and failing to acknowledge and address the far-reaching roots of the problem. Thus, while the methods and goals of anti-rape activism have changed over the past four decades, the result – a continued sense of frustration and confusion preventing any substantial resolution – has stayed the same.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Funding: None
  • Sweet, John Wood
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 118 p.

This work has no parents.