Berkeley’s History of Sexual Violence

In light of the recent high-profile sexual harassment allegations against two prominent Berkeley professors in 2015/2016, many have expressed shock and outrage at the lackluster sanctions that Berkeley imposed on the perpetrators.

This failure to take sexual harassment seriously is not new. In fact, it’s been going on for decades on this campus.

This blog seeks to illuminate many ways in which Berkeley has systemically swept sexual harassment and sexual violence under the rug for more than forty years. Archived articles from the Daily Californian, divided by decade, depict how the university has protected its own, silenced survivors, and benefitted from the perpetual resetting of the campus’s institutional memory every four years.

**Some of these articles reflect non-intersectional approaches to feminism and take the traditional “protect yourself!” approach to rape prevention.**


1. The narratives from survivors in these articles are not representative of all survivors. We are cognizant that the narratives here are mostly from the perspective of white, heterosexual, cis-gender women. The fact that so few of these articles discuss the intersections between identities is problematic, particularly because the rates of sexual violence are much higher for marginalized groups, including indigenous survivors, survivors of color, and folks who identify as LGBTQ*, gender non-conforming, or are differently-abled. Male survivors are also not represented. This having been said, these articles shed an important light on the pattern of deliberate indifference to sexual violence at UC Berkeley for more than forty years, and ought to be discussed as a means of disrupting it.

2. Do not tell us not to get raped. Tell men not to rape.


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