Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Understanding "No To Yes" Rapists

In the comments of my post Gaining genuine consent vs overcoming lack of consent I responded to a man using the label E(@mabtw) who wrote:

Rape is physically forced Intercourse, nothing more. [...]

If they are forcing themselves (Physically) then that IS rape. The difference *IS* the Rapist is not trying to turn a NO into a YES... [emphasis mine]

Me: "Your claim that what you do is not a crime as long as you do not physically force yourself on a woman is provably false."

He (I'll refer to him as E from now on) responded with this:

Really? you want to go down this road? Have you ever heard of "Corpus Delicta" It's latin... it means "The Body of the Crime. In order to prosecute a crime, you have to establish the Corpus Dilecta. The Corpus Dilecta consists of 3 elements: 1. Harm, injury or loss that was caused by an unlawful action. 2. Evidence linking the Accused to the Harm or loss. 3. A method for correction (Jail, fine, etc...)

In a case where a man "wears down" the womans "No" responce, and they end up having sex (When she eventualy says "Yes") Where is the loss, injury, or harm?

Where is the Evidance? (Sayso is not tantamount to evidence)

You see, you think you are doing something great, and grand for women's rights...What you are actually doing, is attempting to mutate the law to define a crime as "Emotional" harm. And you cannot PROVE emotion.

You are not looking at this from a legal perspective, so it is understandable why you are fighting for what you are. Because you do not understand "Reason"-E(@mabtw)

E has made multiple errors. I'll highlight and debunk E's claims about the law later, but first I want to highlight that E's response provides insight into how boys and men who others may think of as decent human beings can rationalize sexual assault and why premeditated sexual assaults against non-strangers are frequently committed in a specific way.

I've read enough rants from men like E to be sure of his reaction if he successfully sells his claim to heterosexual women who do initiate sex and who hold his same ethical beliefs. As long as she doesn't physically force a man she can tell herself she has committed no crime. Instead of being proud of his success, many men like E spew venom at women who are their mirror image in their thinking and their actions.

They've seen the enemy and she is them.

This type of non-stranger rapist which E is trying to protect is half focused on the sexual assault he wants to commit while the other half is focused on how he will defend himself against rightful allegations of sexual assault. This 2-focused approach could not happen if these rapists were being ruled by their hormones. This approach also nullifies the claim that the rapists actions were accidental.

The focus on how to respond to rightful criminal allegations of rape explains why certain rapists would try to turn a no into a yes before committing sexual assault rather than immediately responding to no with a sexual assault.

As more potential jurors understand how these rapists are intending to manipulate not only their victims but everyone, including all those involved in criminal cases, jurors will be less likely to believe the defense's false claims of consent.

If E were talking about women who truly changed their mind about sex he wouldn't need to keep emphasizing that only physical force counts.

On his first point of Corpus Dilecta, if E's application of the definition of harm, injury or loss were used for all criminal cases then many other real crimes of violence would have to be considered non-crimes.

For example, if a man enters a daycare center, pulls a gun on the employees and children, holds them hostage for an hour, but then suddenly leaves without touching or shooting anyone then by E's standard there was no crime because the harm to those employees and children was only emotional. And as E said, "you cannot PROVE emotion."

If you accept E's position denying the harm of sex crimes then you must deny non-measurable harm for all crimes and therefore deny those crimes.

The actual provable harm in this crime is less than in the sexual assaults E is denying since there is no physical contact and no possibility of physical harm to the victims while so-called non-violent rapes can harm their victims physically through the transmission of STDs which could include HIV.

Under item 2 of Corpus Delicta, according to E, the testimony of victims from the daycare are not evidence. They are just sayso and should not be used to convict anyone.

But victim testimony is evidence in our criminal justice system. This is true whether the crime is rape or the crime is threatening a group of people with a gun.

If sayso is not tantamount to evidence as E states then witnesses who contradict an original claim of rape which was accompanied by measurable physical injuries and DNA evidence which undeniably links the defendant to the alleged crime must be ruled inadmissible.

But E's statement of fact is not meant to be applied to anyone but to those who report being victims of sex crimes.

As far as linking a defendant to a crime, if the defendant claims consent he has provided an important link. This link is stronger than the best visual ID processes for stranger crimes such as the man who enters a daycare with a gun.

Under item 3 of Corpus Delicta, I wonder if E views failures by the criminal justice system to hold certain types of rapists accountable as being evidence that there is no method for correction of those rapes and therefore those crimes cannot be crimes according to the Corpus Delicta and must therefore be viewed as legal actions irregardless of the applicable criminal statutes.

If E believed that the men accused of rape after wearing down a woman's "no" had legal consent he wouldn't need to focus on his belief that the harm these men do should not count. If she truly and freely consented then there simply is no harm, emotional or otherwise.

But E has acknowledged the emotional harm. Negating the importance of this emotional harm is the core of his support for his claim that, "Rape is physically forced Intercourse, nothing more."

Unless the emotional harm done to those held at gunpoint is negated across the board in criminal courts and in our system of law then those who negate the emotional harm done to victims of sexual violence are proclaiming their opposition to the basic tenets of our sytem of law.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:32 AM   9 comments links to this post


At August 25, 2009 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

E's argument also negates the use of drugs as constituting rape - after all, a drugged victim doesn't have to be forced, and may not even remember.


At August 25, 2009 5:48 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


Yes, you are right. With E's view of harm, he likely views raping the unconscious as causing no harm and therefore legal.

At August 25, 2009 7:14 PM, Anonymous Azundris said...

I rather expected "corpus delicti" (sg, gen), which might be considered the "canonical form." Now I'm all down with fancy plurals (corpora delicti, if you will, or delicta for delictum, which would give us delictorum for the gen). So by that token, the translation seems a tad sloppy, which doesn't really go so well with the whole "Me big man, teach you strange latin terms!" vibe so that on the whole, there may be more pig than Latin in E's message.

Or maybe it's just that I haven't had tea yet; I might get hip to his superiority later, who knows.

At August 27, 2009 10:23 PM, OpenID vagabondsaint said...

As repeatedly stated in this article ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/27/missing-girl-reappears-af_n_270503.html ) at least one state (and I do not believe that only one state has such a definition) defines the crime of rape as being "by force or fear." Fear is an emotion, with no lasting physical effects, but according to the law, it can be proven and is subject to the same penalties as rape by force. The law is not on E's side in this. Verbal coercion is just as bad as physical and should be treated as such in any court of law.

Just my opinion.

At August 27, 2009 11:29 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


The only thing I disagree with you on is the idea that fear has no lasting physical effects. Fear can definitely have lasting physical effects.

Sexual violence has been shown to have serious physical health consequences.

At August 28, 2009 5:29 PM, OpenID vagabondsaint said...

You're right, and I misspoke. My apologies.

At September 04, 2009 4:41 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

For all the people asking, whether out of genuine curiosity or out of a desire to push the envelope, whether taking a woman to dinner, giving her a back massage when she asks for one, etc., is sexual assault if done with the goal of having sex with her - ask yourself this question:

Do you want her to want to have sex with you? Or do you just want her to have sex with you?

It's that simple.

At September 04, 2009 5:18 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


Unfortunately, people can commit sexual assault while wanting their rape victim to want to have sex with them.

That doesn't require the other person to actually want to have sex and to make the conscious decision to have sex in that moment.

Some of these people see coercive tactics as the method to get the other person to want them.

At September 04, 2009 6:43 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

You're right, of course - that was a silly and reductive way of putting it.


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