Sexual Assault Is Actually Legal In This US State

If you say “yes” to sex with someone, then halfway through you’re not feeling it anymore and say “stop” but they keep going, that’s rape, right? Yes. 100 percent. If you decide to get it on with someone, and then they start acting violent and you push them away, that’s rape, right? Yes. But according to a law in North Carolina, it’s not rape, and can’t be punishable. And that’s horrifying.

Unfortunately, this law has been in effect for a REALLY long time. In 1979, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that women cannot revoke consent after sexual intercourse begins. According to State v Way, “If the actual penetration is accomplished with the woman’s consent, the accused is not guilty of rape, although he may be guilty of another crime because of his subsequent actions.” So, if somebody says “yes” to sex, and then the sex becomes violent and the victim changes their mind, the victim cannot accuse the person of rape if they consented in the first place. They can still be accused of assault, but not rape. Basically, rape is legal in North Carolina if it occurs after somebody said yes, even if they then say no. This is bad. 

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According to The Fayetteville Observer, a Democratic state senator named Jeff Jackson is trying to get the law changed, since many women are being raped and subsequently denied justice because of this ridiculous loophole in the law. He is sponsoring Senate Bill 553, which would criminalize the failure to stop intercourse when the person who originally consented changes their mind. It was sent to the Committee on April 3rd, but has had no movement since then, and will most likely be “dead” for the rest of the two-year legislative session. North Carolina residents are encouraged to call their state senators in order to get this bill passed.

As we all know, consent is the most important thing when it comes to sex. This doesn’t just mean that you say “yes” before sex–it also means that a person has the right to change their mind, even when they are in the middle of the act. The fact that just because somebody said yes once before changing their mind is stopping rapists from being charged is heartbreaking, and is just another reason why women and rape victims are discouraged from reporting their assaulters.

You might be thinking, “why does this matter to me? I don’t live in North Carolina.” But think about it this way: if rape is technically legal in one state, it makes it seem more acceptable everywhere, which is completely backwards. We need to help survivors everywhere and, of course, make sure rapists know that what they are doing isn’t okay. If we are letting rapists go free, we are giving them more opportunities to commit these awful acts. We need to support survivors, no matter what.

What do you think of this law? Tell us in the comments!

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