Chronology of Selected Rape and Sexual Violence Events 1736 Posthumous publication of Sir Matthew Hale’s History of the Pleas of the Crown. This work influenced rape law in the United States and the United Kingdom into the late 20th century, including the idea that husbands cannot be guilty of marital rape. 1765–1769 Sir William Blackstone writes Commentaries on the Laws of England. Until the 20th century, this work influenced how rape was prosecuted and how rape victims were treated—both in the United States and the United Kingdom. 1930s–1945 Thousands of women in Japanese-occupied territories are forced into sexual slavery as “comfort women.” 1931 In the Scottsboro Boys case, two white women accuse nine African American men of raping them on a freight train near Scottsboro, Alabama. The accusations were false. In the Massie Rape-Murder case, Thalia Massie, wife of a U.S. Navy officer, accuses several Hawaiian men of raping her in Honolulu, Hawaii. After the rape trial ends in a deadlocked jury, Massie’s husband, mother, and other accomplices are arrested and tried for murdering one of the alleged rapists. The murder trial is widely publicized. 1937 The Japanese Imperial Army takes Nanking, China, and rapes and massacres thousands of people. 1968 In My Lai, Vietnam, U.S. soldiers rape, murder, and pillage. 1972 The first rape crisis center opens in Berkeley, California. Title IX, part of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, is passed.
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