A case of alleged sexual assault in North Carolina has brought to light an antiquated law stipulating that a person cannot be charged with rape if consent was given at the beginning of the sexual encounter.
As The Fayetteville Observer reports, 19-year-old Aaliyah Palmer says she was at a party when a man pulled her into the bathroom. She consented to have sex with him, but asked him to stop when he became violent. He did not listen.
Compounding Palmer’s trauma is the fact that four soldiers who were at the party — one of whom is a captain — have been accused of making or possessing a video of the encounter. But despite video evidence documenting the incident, Palmer discovered that the alleged offender cannot be charged with rape. Under North Carolina law, women are not able withdraw consent once they agree to have sex.
In the 1979 case State v. Way, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that 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.”
State Senator Jeff Jackson, a Democrat, is hoping to reform the legislation. He has sponsored Senate Bill 553, which dictates that anyone who fails to stop intercourse once consent has been revoked can be charged with rape. “Legislators are hearing more and more about women who have been raped and are being denied justice because of this crazy loophole,” Jackson said, according to the Observer. “North Carolina is the only state in U.S. where no doesn’t mean no.”
But the bill is currently stalled in the Senate’s Rules Committee. It will likely remain dead until the end of the legislative session.
Palmer told the Observer that she wanted to speak out so that she would not be a “silent victim.”
“It’s really stupid,” she said of the law. “If I tell you no and you kept going, that’s rape.”
Read the full story at The Fayetteville Observer.