Thursday, November 02, 2006

Maryland Appeals Court Supports My Turn Rapist

Warning: explicit language included from text of the court's opinion.

From the Maryland Court's opinion, here's what happened before the woman's so-called consent which was withdrawn.

... she found herself on her back with appellant removing her jeans and Mike sitting on her chest, attempting to place his penis in her mouth. After she told them to stop, the pair moved her around so that her body was up in appellant's lap as he held her arms and Mike tried to insert his penis in her, but briefly inserted it into her rectum by mistake. After Mike again tried to insert his penis in the complainant's vagina, appellant inserted his fingers in her vagina. After appellant exited the car, Mike inserted his fingers, then his penis into her vagina. Mike then got out of the car and appellant got in. Appellant told Jewel that it was his turn ...
After this sequence of events, the idea that any appeals judge could consider the woman in any condition to give legal consent is appalling. The appellant should have stopped before helping his friend rape a woman and not waited to stop until after starting his "turn."

Q. [ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY]: And what else did he say?
A. He, after that we sat there for a couple seconds and he was like so are you going to let me hit it and I didn't really say anything and he was like I don’t want to rape you.
Notice according to her testimoney he didn't say he wasn't going to rape her. Instead he says he doesn't want to rape her.

When this boy says he doesn't want to rape her, he means he'd rather not hold her down as she's trying to fight him off. Make no mistake, the implication is that he will do that if he has to. And his past actions of restraining her as his friend penetrated her shows that he's willing to use physical force. Then there is the possibility that the friend who has already raped her will come back or will be asked to help control her.

At a bank robbery we would recognize the threat in "I don't want to shoot you" and we would know that the teller who hands over cash isn't simply being generous and the subsequent pushing of an alarm is not a change of heart. And we would understand why if a teller were shot by one robber that same teller might agree to give the second robber anything and everything he wants including personal items.

Why is this concept so difficult for so many people to comprehend when it comes to rape?

Her "consent," like a bank teller's decision to empty the cash drawer or hand over jewelry is an attempt to minimize the trauma. This victim was actually quite clever in extracting a promise from him since there was a chance he'd respect his own boundaries and stop as promised when he obviously didn't respect her boundaries.

This is the sort of defensive "consent" that far too many people defend. What's even more bizarre is some of the same people who see this as valid consent also advocate for complete abstinence before marriage.

Or maybe it isn't bizarre. Not if this type of interaction is what typical unmarried sex looks like to these people.

This case shows exactly why rapists attempt to get a mockery of consent. They know there are people out there who will take their side against rape victims, possibly to the point of calling for the prosecution of these rape victims.

We need to call a rapist a rapist and not be fooled by those who want everyone to ignore the rapist's actions which led up to the so-called moment of consent. Oddly enough, those who ignore rapists actions before rape use anything and everything the victim did to excuse the rapist and hold the victim accountable for being raped.

Here's the appellant's version of events before the so-called consent was given:

Jewel climbed into the back seat between appellant and Mike, whereupon the
latter put the complainant’s hand in his pants. After the complainant refused
appellant’s request to expose her breasts, Mike asked appellant for a condom and
told him to get out of the car.
Even in this version Jewel is not a willing participant, but a jury is supposed to believe she went from unwilling and uncooperative to willing to have sex in moments? After she refused the appellant's request, Mike asked the appellant for a condom. And the appellant abandened her to someone clearly intent on getting sex. There's not even an attempt to show her willingness in this description. Also in his testimony he states that he said, "I'm not going to rape you."

The assurance itself is telling. If this whole interaction between Jewel, Mike and the appellant is consensual why does he need to say these words unless she's just been raped and he's trying to pacify her? His given reasons don't ring true.

Isn't it awfully close to "I don't want to rape you like Mike just raped you?"

That statement reminded me of what a self-defense expert said about reassurances and that if a man reassures you that he isn't a rapist, he probably is because he's got rape on the brain. Also according to him he was never able to sexually penetrate her so he's saying there was no sex between him and the woman, consensual or non-consensual.

That would make the whole defense argument that consent cannot be nullified after sex penetration immaterial to this case. Part of his defense is that he tried and failed to have sex with her.

For more reactions to this ruling and the possible implication of this ruling on other cases, check out:

Sex Crimes (history of MD rape laws), Sex Crimes (withdrawing consent), Pandagon, Stone Court, Happy Feminist, Shakespeare's Sister, Feministe, Echidne of the Snakes

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   3 comments links to this post


At November 03, 2006 10:24 PM, Blogger Gracchi said...

I really liked this post. Doing my own test on myself ie what would I have done having been on a jury in this case- I think even on his evidence you'd find him guilty of sexual assault and given that he had offered an alibi for the rape idea I'm not sure I wouldn't have thought there were two stories in his head and therefore found him guilty of rape.

Just a couple of questions though- you probably don't know the answers- firstly was Mike charged sorry I don't know this case cause it sounds like he was guilty too and if he wasn't he should be, secondly if you have sex with someone like the Appellant did would it be possible to know even if Mike had done so first- ie was their scientific evidence to back up her story that there had been penetration a second time. Thanks this is an interesting case- I hope you keep reporting on it and am sorry if I've missed previous reports.

Keep up the good work.

At November 04, 2006 2:31 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

I saw on someone's blog (sorry can't remember which one) that Mike was charged and took a plea deal.

I think DNA is the physical evidence that they would look for.

At February 29, 2008 8:47 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

This was a horrifying post to read, probably because it is the first time I ever heard the exact questions and answers of a rape trial.

I'm reminded how often during conversations the "theft" of sex is compared to a mugging, where only a wallet is stolen and somehow these two situations are supposed to be similar in trauma.

Really one of your best posts on the subject. Thank you.


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