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snopes
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Comment: The chemistry building at Duke is secluded in the forest, and the
path that leads to it includes oddly shaped, long, flat stairs which are
called the "rape stairs". Supposedly, they have been designed so that a
woman can run faster than a man up those stairs. I strongly suspect it's
an urban legend (mainly to the fact that I'm a man who has to sprint up
those stairs every Tuesday and Thursday to make it to class).

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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
Good King Wal-Mart


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How could they possibly distinguish the speed of a man and a woman anyway? Isn't that based more on the individuals own capabilities than their gender? Besides, if it WERE possible, why on the Chemistry building of all places? The last place I'd be escaping to on a dark evening is a building I knew would be locked. It would make more sense to put them near girls' housing.

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resELution
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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A more likely legeond is the time a girl got raped on the stairs. At least that's what I thought the OP would be about. The stairs are long and flat shaped which makes it extra easy for women to be raped on them.

Strange architexture in remote locations often spurs a myriad of UL's. I'd take what you hear about them with a grain of salt. Chances are that stair/pathway design was just the bestsuited for the location.

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Marin Shea
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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There were similar-shaped stairs at my school (in Boston), also widely known as "the rape steps" and for the same reason (supposedly a woman could run up/down them faster). No doubt a UL, but interesting that it's so widespread!

Anneke *how about 'short people steps'?* Shea

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Christopher
Peruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town


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And when the architect discovered that his stairs had been put in the woods, rather than the well-lit, public area in the front, he committed suicide.

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Ms. Pomfrey
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Aren't all stairs long and flat? OK, I can see maybe they mean long from front to back instead of side to side, but what kind of NFBSKed up staircase has steps that aren't flat?

Ms. "I keep sliding off these hemispherical steps" Pomfrey

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MWF
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Maybe at the top of the stairs there's a sign saying "50% off shoes" and at the bottom a sign saying "Free porn here"
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Elbe
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I'd guess that the stairs were built on a rather shallow incline so they had large platform steps instead of a single step type staircase. So people just decided to think up a reason for the styling.

Does that make any sense?

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STF
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by MWF:
Maybe at the top of the stairs there's a sign saying "50% off shoes" and at the bottom a sign saying "Free porn here"

Excellent point.

Can someone explain to me, at least theoretically, how you build stairs that are easier for women to run up than men? I mean I know this is an UL, but how is that even "supposed" to work? Does it make any sense at all? I'm legitimately asking. I'd like to hear someone explain.

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Elbe
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by STF:
Can someone explain to me, at least theoretically, how you build stairs that are easier for women to run up than men? I mean I know this is an UL, but how is that even "supposed" to work? Does it make any sense at all? I'm legitimately asking. I'd like to hear someone explain.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you can't. The architect would have to make some remarkably broad generalizations about men and women. They have to assume that all women would benifit from the changed staircase design and not disrupt their strides. They have to assume all men's strides could be disrupted by the design. There could be some basic physiology differences between how men and women run that I don't know about, but they'd still have to be ignoring the differences in sizes between different people.

If I were to make something like that, I'd make the stair's small, like the ones used in colonial times. I can barely walk up those things let alone run. But that only assumes the raper will have larger feet than victim.

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Wizard of Yendor
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by STF:
Can someone explain to me, at least theoretically, how you build stairs that are easier for women to run up than men? I mean I know this is an UL, but how is that even "supposed" to work? Does it make any sense at all? I'm legitimately asking. I'd like to hear someone explain.

I guess you'd just look at the average stride of a ma

Ack cats are fighting in the bedroom!!!

Uhhh right the average stride length of a man and a woman and arrange the stairs so the average woman could take a complete step and the average man would have to take slightly awkward short/long steps. That's the best I can think of.

PS, I never realize how territorial that cat was, some strange cat got in, and she totally freaked out.

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STF
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Thanks y'all. I really was curious. That sheds some light on it. I really couldn't wrap my head around it I guess.

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