Overt vs. Covert Rape- What’s the difference?


I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me “Rape by Fraud isn’t Real Rape!”

Back in 1982, Susan Estrich,

  • Fox News Legal Commentator,
  • University of Southern California Law Professor,
  • First female to become President of Harvard Law Review,
  • Campaign Manager for Dukakis/Bentzen’s Presidential bid,

launched her account of rape by fraud. Guess what the name of her book is…… Real Rape.

Susan Estrich is my hero! Without her brave attempt at setting society straight about rape, I never would have understood what had happened to me. I’m eternally grateful.

Motivating my personal disclosure

Carnal Abuse by Deceit by Joyce M. Short
Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats

Society barely noticed Prof. Estrich’s book.  I realized that society needed to hear, see and feel the actual, real-life impacts in order to take the message seriously. Legal definitions are complex and people often tune out when there’s little emotional hook or something they can easily relate to. Since my story, Carnal Abuse by Deceit (click to purchase,)  involves the publisher of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, 75% of the music that, for years, came out of Nashville, and the vast majority of top Billboard hits throughout the 50s and 60s, I hoped to inspire interest.

Fortunately, little by little, it’s penetrating the mainstream of thought and sparking debate around the world. Nothing changes without discussion and I welcome all the comments I receive, both pro and con, from the readers of my book and my blog.  I believe they move us closer to world-wide recognition and acceptance.

The loyal opposition

The most frequent objection I hear to the criminalization of rape by fraud is that “rape” must include violence and, therefore, if lacking, rape did not take place. Society has been slow to embrace the concept that……

Rape is the violation of the sexual organs of another person’s body through any overt or covert means!

Overt assault

While a rapist’s arsenal of weapons can include violence, it is not their only tool. It is; however, the most overt way to rape someone. Overt means “straight forward, obvious, conspicuous, plainly visible.” And offenders who use violence to overwhelm their victim should receive maximum penalties for doing so, just as they would in the commission of any other crime.

As an example: if an offender uses brutality to steal $200 from the victim, their penalty is harsher than if no physical threat or harm took place. The use of violence raises crimes to an “aggravated” level of criminal charge.  Lack of violence does not equate to “lack of crime.” The offense is simply not an “aggravated” level of the crime.

How the element of force is treated in rape

Sexual intercourse is a physical act. Insertion of a man’s sexual organs into a woman’s requires an element of force, whether consensual or not. (Sorry to be so graphic but…. it doesn’t just drop in.) Many states have determined that such force, without consent, is sufficient to warrant a rape charge. States that have not recognized this concept in their penal code are simply archaic, misogynist, and need to get up to speed.

Sexual consent

Model Penal Code, which has been broadly adopted in many states, is clear that deception vitiates consent. 

Alcohol and drugs vitiate consentStates have long recognized the value of “consent” in sexual behavior. From the very first enactment of statutory rape law to protect underage victims, even those that concede to the act, a significant recognition of the responsibility for achieving actual, knowing consent became ensconced in criminal law. In statutory rape, the victim’s consent is considered to be muddied consent because they are not yet capable of providing meaningful consent. The same is true of consent issued by a person who is mentally incapable of meaningful consent. A person who is tricked or defrauded into sex is also only capable of marred or muddied consent….. and the offender knows they are deliberately marring the victim’s consent by lying to them to induce the act.

Covert assault

Criminal code in most states already recognizes that legally acceptable consent does not occur when the victim’s choice is muddied or muddled, such as by administering a drug or alcohol in Date Rape. While the offender does not violently overwhelm the victim, they blur the victim’s grasp of the facts, therefore meaningful consent does not exist. A person who deliberately lies in order to engage in sex is blurring the facts by which a sound determination could be made by the victim.

In summary:

When the offender deliberately undermines the victim’s ability to make sound determinations over their sexual organs, whether by overt or covert means, a rape, (or sexual assault,) is taking place, not seduction!








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