The Atlantic

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

Only one of those scenarios threatens the harmony of the friend group.
Source: Hill Street Studios / Getty

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. Their year-and-a-half-long research project was part of a larger initiative to rethink how campuses might approach prevention—and what became clear to them through their conversations is that such an undertaking requires not just a general knowledge of where and under what conditions assaults happen, but an understanding of how students’ emotional lives, social identities, and personal philosophies about sex interact to create situations that can lead to assault.

One of ’ most compelling arguments is that friends can play a

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