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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Miriam Slifkin, March 24, 1995. Interview G-0175. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Rape Crisis representatives included on 1975 commission to reform "rape laws"

Slifkin discusses attending a meeting in 1975 about the formation of a commission to revise the existing "rape laws." Slifkin was concerned that the composition of the commission was going to be predominately male and successfully proposed that it include representatives from the North Carolina Rape Crisis Association, which was not yet formed. This demonstrates the importance of legal change to the local women's movement.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Miriam Slifkin, March 24, 1995. Interview G-0175. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

One thing I was writing about was the change in the sexual assault laws. Weird things happen to me. I got a call from, I think her name was Jean Wilson, this was in I think '75. The RCC was well established. She called me and said there was a group of people at the institute of government who are interested in changing the rape laws. This was about the death penalty. She asked me if I would be interested in helping them. And I said I'd be very interested and I asked If I could bring some members of the RCC with me. So I brought Francis Johnson, Sherry Graham and Louann Robinson. They didn't expect me to bring four. Anyway, they said that instead of drawing up a law, they were going to draw up a bill to set up a study commission to study the sexual assault laws, well they called them rape laws back then. What they wanted to do was if this works out, was to figure out what are the things we need to change, to use it as a guideline and to set up the composition of the commission. And that the composition would be in the bill to go to the general assembly. And the desires of what we think which way they should go would be presented to the commission.
Well, in the composition of the commission that the general assembly would appoint, they had two people from the senate, two people from the house, and I think it was two judges, and they wanted I think two police officers or something. But every single one of them at that day in time would have been male. . . . This bothered me. I said, how about adding two representatives from the North Carolina Rape Crisis Association. Well, my three friends gave me away (gasp). So the guy that was chairing the session said, Is there such a thing? I said no, but there's going to be. He laughed and said, we'll put that in. But you make sure that there is one. We came home, and in this living room (laughs) , the four of us sat down and planned a conference.