Bad Hookup, or Sexual Assault? Sometimes the Friends Decide.

Ashley Fetters
Bad Hookup, or Sexual Assault? Sometimes the Friends Decide.

Before they wrote Sexual Citizens, their new book about campus sexual assault and how to prevent it, the Columbia University professors Jennifer S. Hirsch and Shamus Khan spent much of 2015 and 2016 hanging out with Columbia undergrads and talking with them about their experiences with assault. One of Sexual Citizens’ most compelling arguments is that friends can play a key role in how college students understand their own experiences of sexual assault. Because students frequently facilitate sexual opportunities for one another (think the surreptitious “Let’s give those two a little privacy” exit), an unfortunate side effect is that some friend-assisted hookups end in sexual assault.