For centuries, sexual assault survivors have been under-served and under-recognized. The concept that a woman actually owns her own body is modern-day thinking. But some states still show the vestiges of chattel and not a single, solitary state defines sexual assault as nonconsensual sex.
Little by little, recognition of certain types of sexual assaults have crept into our social consciousness and our laws, but not all types. In order to protect society from all types of sexual assault, legislators would need to expressly adopt the actual definition for consent, Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement. #FGKIA, and recognize that sexual conduct without consent is a crime.
Even when our legislators claim they are setting out to create consent laws, they fall short of doing so. And it happens far too often to be sheer coincidence. Recently, in Indiana, a bill was introduced, inspired by the act of sexual assault by impersonation committed by Donald Grant Ward at Purdue University. The definition of consent in the bill, HB 1489, would fail to convict Mr. Ward. It was patterned after consent provisions in NY and IL, which would also fail to convict Mr. Ward.
Fortunately, another bill, HB 1584, was introduced. Although it was not passed in this legislative session, there is still hope for its future success.
Rape by impersonation dates all the way back to Greek mythology. Zeus summoned his ability to change his form and became a swan in order to seduce the mortal Leda. Yet much of society is stunned at the thought that fraud could be a sexual predator’s weapon of choice.
So let’s look at instances where the correct definition of consent actually applies……
Take sex trafficking for instance. The Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), was signed into law in 2000, and states:
“Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102). “
We obviously recognize that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement when dealing with sex trafficking, but not when dealing with all sexual conduct. Bizarre, right?? We prosecute sex trafficking when a person is deprived of consent to put money in the offenders pocket, but when the offender breaches consent for their own personal sexual gratification, through force, fraud or coercion, we ignore it.
Here’s why force, duress and deception matters….
- When you are forced, you are not freely giving agreement; therefore, you are not consenting even if you freeze, fail to fight back, or give-in and agree. Being forced by an acquaintance is rarely prosecuted even though rape by a stranger constitutes less than 20% of all rapes according to the Rape and Incest National Network, RAINN.
- When you are coerced, you are not freely giving agreement; therefore, you are not consenting even when you agree. Claims alleged by Harvey Weinstein’s victims are a good example.
- When you are defrauded, you are not knowledgeable or informed; therefore, you are not consenting even when you agree. In the Donald Ward case, his victim would be seen as cooperating in “words and deeds” in the consent laws of many states, This example shows that when someone is tricked into words and deeds, they are not consenting. Consent provisions that are based on words and deeds are flagrantly wrong.
Various states clearly support the meaning of consent…. but close their eyes when it comes to sex
Missouri’s rape in the second degree statute is clear…. “Assent is not consent if induced by force, duress or deception.” But in a blatant case of sexual assault by deception against 30+ women by Mario Antoine in 2016, the SVU Prosecutor, Jill Icenhower, sat on her hands and did nothing.
Texas is also clear in its consent provision, 1.07.19- “Consent is not effective if induced by force, threat or fraud.” But it fails to apply this statute in sexual conduct. Even more bizarre, right??? Texas knows what consent is, but doesn’t think it’s important to protect a person’s right to consent in sex??? What manner of ignorance is that?
Nuremberg Code gives an even greater explanation of force, duress and deception….. all of which would render a person incapable of consent. Nuremberg Code is used in order to conduct medical experiments on living human subjects. There’s no lack of understanding in Nuremberg Code. All manner of force, duress and deception is covered. Researchers cannot ignore the meaning of consent regardless of how the person dresses, their state of intoxication, whether they are acquainted with the subject, or all the ridiculous excuses the authorities use to fail to arrest sexual predators.
In 1962, the American Law Institute created Model Penal Code which states:”Consent is ineffective if induced by force, duress or deception.” But even this provision by a highly regarded authoritative body is ignored by legislators when creating laws.
Clearly, there is earnest awareness of consent in our laws….. but the language used in Penal Codes completely distorts consent’s application in sexual conduct.
New York’s Penal Code deliberately omits that a person is not consenting when they’re defrauded of sex. Force and coercion are causes for arrest… but victims who are defrauded are totally irrelevant to the legislators of New York.
76% of the states and territories throughout the US have NO definition or provision about consent in their laws!
Consent is not an amorphous word. It’s not fluid or without shape. It has a simple, specific definition. That definition does not change with circumstance. The fact that our legislators fail to properly apply the principle of consent to sexual conduct, should show us how little they actually care about protecting us.
They fail to do so for all kinds of selfish reasons….
- They want to be re-elected and are concerned they would lose votes by doing the right thing.
- They, themselves have a rape mentality.
- They buy-into the concept that because minorities are harshly treated by our justice system, we should not increase penal code. Instead, they should be fixing our justice system, not failing to recognize and prevent sexual assault.
- They trivialize the terrible harm defilement creates for the victim of all types of sexual assault.
Learn more about the real meaning of consent and the status of consent in your state. Hon. Sally Siegrist, IN State Representative, says “Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault,” is the primer for defining consent! Get your copy today!