News Violence

Why “Forcible Rape” Still Matters

Robin Marty

Comments defining rape as legitimate or forcible have made one court question whether a disabled woman really fought off her attacker.

What happens when we allow right-wing politicians with anti-women agendas to get to decide whether a rape is really a rape? We end up with cases like the one in Connecticut, where an alleged rapist gets his sentence overturned because a disabled woman couldn’t prove she physically fought him off.

Via Think Progress:

In a 4-3 ruling Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who “has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate.” The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent. Since the victim in this case was capable of “biting, kicking, scratching, screeching, groaning or gesturing,” the Court ruled that that victim could have communicated lack of consent despite her serious mental deficiencies.

Apparently now even being physically and mentally unable to say no is the same as consent.

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