United States Federal Court Legally Allows Men to Rape Women If They Change Their Mind during Sex

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In North Carolina, a woman is not legally allowed to withdraw her consent in the middle of sex — even if a man gets violent and forces himself on her.

The Present

Recently, 19-year-old Aaliyah Palmer agreed to have sex with a man she met at a party. He had her consent. But when the man turned violent, she changed her mind and asked him to stop. He didn’t. At this point, he didn’t have her consent. It was rape. But the man who forced himself on her was not charged with any crime. Palmer told The Fayetteville Observer:

“We went into an apartment and he pulled me into a bathroom. I initially consented to have sex with him, but then I asked him to stop after he started to pull out hanks of my hair about five minutes into the encounter.

“I said, ‘You’re hurting me. Stop.’ I asked him to stop several times, but he refused to stop. It’s really stupid that a law allows the man to escape without consequences. If I tell you NO and you kept going, that’s rape.” 

Under a North Carolina law, passed 38 years ago, a woman is not allowed to back out of sex or legally revoke consent once it is underway. In other words, a 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling allows men to continue to have sex with women who revoke their consent after sexual intercourse begins. The ruling, which doesn’t consider non-consensual sex to be rape, lets the rapists get away with the crime.

The Past

In 1977, Beverly Hester was on a first date when she willingly accompanied her date to his friend’s apartment. In her testimony, she said that the man had hit her, and that she undressed because she was scared.

She further testified that the man later “forced her to have intercourse with him even though she begged him not to because she was a virgin”. She was sexually assaulted, but two years later, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that Hester’s date had not raped her.

“Under the court’s instruction, the jury could have found the defendant guilty of rape if they believed Beverly had consented to intercourse with the defendant and in the middle of that act, she changed her mind. This is not the law.  

“If the actual penetration is accomplished with the woman’s consent [no matter what her choice may be after that], the accused is not guilty of rape, although he may be guilty of another crime because of his subsequent actions.”

The Future

Jeff Jackson, a Democratic state senator who represents Mecklenburg County, is trying to get the misogynistic law changed and, with Senate Bill 553, is seeking to jolt the fraught Southern state into the 21st Century — making legal rape illegal again.

The bill, which applies specifically to vaginal intercourse, states that “a person who continues to engage in intercourse after consent is withdrawn is deemed to have committed the act of intercourse by force and against the will of the other person”.

It further states that “a person may withdraw consent to engage in vaginal intercourse in the middle of the intercourse, even if the actual penetration is accomplished with consent and even if there is only one act of vaginal intercourse”. Jackson told Broadly:

“This really shouldn’t be a controversial matter. North Carolina is the only state in the country where NO doesn’t really mean NO. Right now, if a woman tells a man to stop having sex he is under no legal obligation to do so, as long as she initially consented. If sex turns violent, the woman has no right to tell the man he must stop.

“Very few legislators are aware that this is the current state of our law. They’re very surprised when I tell them. Most of my conversations have been educating our members about this plainly unacceptable loophole in our rape law. I have not had any members defend the loophole. Every legislator I’ve spoken to agrees we need to fix this.”

Shouldn’t the men’s apparent ‘right to rape women’ be rescinded? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below…