Law: A Revolution in Rape

Keeping a woman's past sex life out of court

When it was time for "Alice," 19, a beautician trainee, to leave her favorite neighborhood bar in Detroit, she would occasionally accept a ride home from men. One night last December a fellow with a familiar face offered her a lift, so she hopped into his car. He promptly pulled a gun and took her to his house. There he and three other men hit her a few times, then raped her.

Until a few years ago, Alice's habit of accepting rides from strangers would have been the rapists' strongest defense. Since...

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