Rape Reporting in NYC in the 19th Century

Rape Reporting in NYC in the 19th Century

Student Artists: Isabel Iraheta and Michele Virgilio
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon
Researcher: Katherine Hijar, CSUSM History

Isabel Iraheta:

When beginning this project, I worked with Michele to contact Katherine Hijar through email, asking her if she could share her data about rape in the 19th century with us. A few days later, she got back to us and sent us several documents. Among the many documents, one really caught our eye. Katherine included a spreadsheet of forty-six total rape cases that occurred in the 19th century. This spreadsheet was extremely detailed and included details such as: the event date, if and when it was published, the victim’s name, the person accused, location, address of the victim (if provided), address of accused, relationship to the victim, description of the case, and the outcome of the case.

With the information Katherine Hijar provided us with, I began making tallies of several categories. I made tallies of how many people accused were found guilty, how many were found not guilty, how many made bail, and how many had a relationship with the accused. Michele and I decided to use these tallies in order to display them for our fellow classmates in simple pie charts.

We also asked 5 friends from Cal State San Marcos to send us selfies so we could portray a statistic that is relevant to us now in modern day. The collage of selfies represents the statistic that one out of every five women in college experience rape, or sexual assault. We used selfies of students so our classmates would be able to make a connection with our data in a personal level. This project will show students in our class that rape happens everywhere and even on college campuses such as Cal State San Marcos. Through this data, Michele and I want to make sure students around us are aware and knowledgeable when it comes to the topic of rape.

Michele Virgilio:

When I first chose the subject it was because it seemed interesting and it is something that needs more prevention and awareness on how to stop it. I was not initially shocked when reviewing this information. Because of the time period and what was happening in the world the information correlated.

I was unsure for a long time where to start in the process of the project. All of the information sent to Isabel and me was overwhelming. There was a lot of data but we soon realized that we had to break it down and focus on one thing. The overwhelming abundance of information is great but in the context of our creation we had to cut back. This was able to give us a clear view of which direction we wanted to go.

We also knew we wanted to have another visual that the audience could look at and not automatically know what it was about at first glimpse. We did some of our own research on the internet and found an alarming statistic that we knew instantly we wanted to include in our presentation. One in every five women in college are raped. Rape is one of the most unreported crimes that occur. 63% of these crimes go un reported. This is not okay and something needs to change in our society.

For a while we were brainstorming about how to represent this data. We decided that we would ask women that attend CSUSM to send us their personal selfies. Initially we wanted around 46 pictures – this did not end up working out due to students unwilling to send pictures. We made a five picture collage to represent how one of these students are affected by rape. We decided to use students from this college so it is more real and personable to our audience.



2 Replies to “Rape Reporting in NYC in the 19th Century”

  1. I liked how you took a data set that was so complicated and transformed it into something simple and easier for people to understand. Talking with you both was so insightful and it was scary to hear that the reports were so detailed, even back then, and that only 9 out of 46 perpetrators were found guilty at the time. The data parallels and is a metaphor for what is going on today, there are detailed reports and accounts of rape going on within our society but only little so much is being done and perpetrators are not being sentenced fast enough or in some opinions long enough for the horrid crimes. The collage of selfies made the data relevant to modern times which was a nice touch to the data, it made it more real. -Alina Segura

  2. This is awesome! You both did a great job of problem-solving (how to focus on something meaningful within a lot of data) and your ideas and the finished product are smart, relevant, and very well done. If you’re ever in a job interview and you’re asked to give an example of your problem-solving abilities, this would make an excellent example of your ability to think about complex information and draw out of it a clear, relevant message.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *