(CNN) Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs warned a teenage girl forced into a "spiritual marriage" to submit to sex with her husband or face "losing your salvation," Utah authorities said in an affidavit.
The girl, who was between 14 and 18, is identified in the document as Jane Doe. She was assigned a husband after a church leader had a "revelation," but told Jeffs she felt she was too young to marry, the affidavit states. Jeffs responded that it was her spiritual duty.
This scenario is exactly why many states eliminate consent as a defense under specific circumstances where the accused has a significant amount of power over the alleged victim. Just because victims can't withstand the physical or emotional pressure applied to them doesn't mean there is true consent and therefore no victim.
This girl and others like her had more than their salvation at stake, they had the entire structure of their lives at stake.
Unfortunately, too many people continue to put all of the responsibility on alleged victims unless they are personally sickened by something about the accused. But doing so turns guilt or innocence into a likability contest rather than a matter of evidence. Maybe they do this because they want the illusion that they or theirs would never capitulate under any circumstances.
Just as people recognize the existence of false confessions, we need to recognize the parallel existence of false consent. The reality is that if one can't exist, neither can the other.
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