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Thirty-five of Bill Cosby’s accusers were photographed and interviewed for New York Magazine’s July 26, 2015 cover story.

The Best Reporting on Rape

A Marshall Project reading list.

In conjunction with the publication of An Unbelievable Story of Rape, our joint venture with ProPublica, we offer a selection of the most important recent journalism on how police and society at large deal with this most invasive and misunderstood crime. Did we miss something? Tweet a link to @MarshallProj.

It Couldn’t Happen To Me: One Woman’s Story, Des Moines Register, February 1990

After a Des Moines Register opinion piece decried the silence surrounding rape, Nancy Ziegenmeyer walked into the newsroom. She had been raped one morning, waiting in a parking lot to take her real estate licensing exam, and the lengthy legal battle that followed had taken an emotional toll on both her and her family. The Pulitzer-Prize winning series that followed tells her story with unflinching candor.

An 18 year old girl reported a brutal assault. The police called her a liar. Then there was an investigation.
An Unbelievable Story of Rape
Read the Full Story

Female Workers Face Rape, Harassment In US Agriculture Industry, Center for Investigative Reporting, June 2013

More than half a million women work on America’s farms. Sexual assault, harassment and rape is a constant threat, with a pattern of supervisors who prey on multiple workers. And even when victims complain (which is rare) to the federal agency responsible for filing sexual harassment claims for workers, few cases ever make it to court. [Video]

Reinvestigating Rape, Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 2013

Police in Cleveland abandoned rape kits from the early 1990s, missing connections that would later reveal a string of serial rapists. Most of the victims were black women. The series also includes a good explanation of how a rape kit works.

Trial By Twitter, The New Yorker, August 2013

Social media played a key role in the notorious Steubenville rape case, in which two high school football players were convicted of raping a girl while she was incapacitated. Ariel Levy’s story is a fascinating exploration of rape culture in an age of Twitter.

Violation of Trust, Belleville News-Democrat, February 2015

Across Southern Illinois, between 2005 and 2013, 70 percent of reported sex crimes were not prosecuted. Police and prosecutors didn’t even know about this staggering number until the Belleville News-Democrat crunched the numbers.

Upon Further Review: Inside the Police Failure to Stop Darren Sharper’s Rape Spree ProPublica and The New Orleans Advocate, April 2015 [Video]

Before Darren Sharper was arrested in January 2014, the former New Orleans Saints star had already been accused of raping nine women in four different states. Police and prosecutors along the way failed to fully investigate the women's allegations, raising questions about whether Sharper’s later attacks could have been prevented.

Tens of Thousands of Rape Kits Go Untested Across USA, USA TODAY, July 2015

A joint investigation by USA TODAY and local journalists found at least 70,000 untested rape kits nationwide across more than 1,000 (out of 18,000) law enforcement agencies. Some departments started counting and testing the kits after getting inquiries from the media. But as of this investigation’s publication, 44 states didn’t have laws to ensure kits are tested in a timely manner.

The FBI Built a Database That Can Catch Rapists – Almost Nobody Uses It, ProPublica, July 2015

ViCAP exists to help police communicate to catch criminals. The problem is that only about 1,400 of the 18,000 police agencies in the United States use it. Meanwhile, Canada has built an almost identical system that has helped link around 7,000 unsolved crimes since 1995.

1 in 5 College Women Say They Were Violated, The Washington Post, June 2015

25 percent of women and 7 percent of men have “suffered unwanted sexual incidents in college,” according to a Washington Post/ Kaiser poll. Several survivors shared their stories, including a mother and daughter who had both been sexually assaulted in college.“It’s something we all hoped would have been fixed by the next generation,” said daughter Kristina Erickson.

‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen, New York Magazine, July 2015

As of July 2015, 46 women had come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of rape or sexual assault. The earliest reportedly took place in the 1960s. The 35 women photographed and interviewed here said they knew of many more who stayed silent, which is not uncommon. More than half of rapes go unreported.