Historically, rape was once considered a property crime since women were viewed as property—first owned by their fathers and then by their husbands. The assumption was also that women who were virgins deserved more protection under the law than those who were not ,since the theft of a woman's virginity was equivalent to the embezzlement of a man's fair price for his daughter. In the 19th century, if a young woman was raped and became pregnant, the woman's father could sue the assailant for the lost income resulting from his daughter's incapacitation. However, as women entered the workforce and became more independent, they recognized not only their economic freedom but freedom from unwanted sexual attention as well. This newly gained independence paved the way for many of the laws that would protect their daughters and granddaughters in the years to come.
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