I receive complaints each and every day about internet dating scams. These stories break my heart. They’re tales of love-bombing and betrayal. Some involve sex addicts. Others hide marriages or money fraud. And my first inclination is to recommend people stay away from dating sites.
MSNBC conducted a survey that calculated 30% of e-dating participants were married. The number was higher for men than women. But the Oasis Singles Blog indicates that 30% of the dating pool, in general, is covering up existing marriages. So if the ratios match, e-dating at least, provides access.
The trick is to use e-dating wisely and be on the watch for hazard signs.
Free sites are apt to contain more scammers than paid resources for obvious reasons. The greater the disclosure and security provided by the site, the more likely they are to eliminate con artists.
If you constantly reach voice mail, rather than securing direct contact, or if their written responses are delayed, your match may be waiting for their wife or business colleagues to get out of the way.
Are they speaking in a hushed tone or only texting late at night? Their spouse could be right alongside them when they do.
Are they making miraculous recoveries from illness? Telling you they’re sick one day, and then appearing perfectly fine the next, could signal they lied to hide their whereabouts.
No photo on the site? When people want to send you their photo privately, rather than place it online, it could signal that they don’t want to be found out by a spouse. Let them know they need to post their picture, not send it to you directly.
Weight, height and age are the most frequently incorrect statements on dating profiles. If it’s important to you, don’t take their word for granted.
If they never take you home or identify where they live, it’s a tip-off that they’re hiding a spouse.
Someone who is really into you would love to show you off to their family. Failure to do so could easily indicate a problem. Con artists will denigrate their family relationships. They’ll even feign that they’re dead. If you don’t meet the family, be very cautious!
Avoid e-dating services that market people as wealthy or millionaires. No one who is wealthy wants to be punked by a Gold Digger. Their interest is not served by attracting you to their affluence, so why would they?
Always Photo ID a person you meet through on-line dating!
I know it sounds intrusive, and it is! But you are taking risks in diving into the dating pool, and so are they. Rather than springing your request to ID them on your first date, let them know ahead of time that you expect to exchange IDs when you meet. Their resistance is a good indication that they’re not on the level.
Often people who were victimized by an emotional predator wonder how or why they’ll ever love again. “It’s just too dangerous,” and “I won’t survive another emotion bashing episode,” are common statements. Victims often isolate themselves from romantic interaction. For them, “being alone is better than being harmed.”
If this is your mindset, you’ve come to the right place. But prepare to hear some things about yourself, as well as some changes you need to make.
YOU did nothing wrong. You were targeted by a predator because you have the capacity to forgive and love. The problem is that the person you choose was an exploiter, not a lover. And they selected you because they grasped that they could manipulate you through your devotion to them.
Some people are incapable of bonding and loving. You need to avoid them. In order to do so, you will have to ditch your attraction to the superficial appeal we know as “charm,” and look more deeply into a person’s character. And you need to note whether their character repeats in all the corners of their life.
Just as people without emotional empathy will never develop it, people with emotional empathy will never lose it. It’s part of their wiring. Sometimes we confuse being “sensitive” with having “emotional empathy,” which is the key to conscience and morality. But they are not the same.
Anyone can be sensitive about their own condition. They can express heartfelt need for what they want. They can dupe you into feeling sorry for them over their past. But that’s still not “emotional empathy.” A person with “emotional empathy” will automatically have a knee-jerk reaction to the pain someone else experiences. They will put themselves in the other person’s shoes and be guided by their conscience.
Instant attraction only means that the object of your affection stirs your brain chemistry. It does not mean that they are a caring, wonderful human being. Being swept off your feet can readily lead to emotional trauma rather than the lasting, durable relationship you want. So here are a few “don’ts” about finding someone to love:
Don’t take anything you read on internet dating sites as gospel.
Everyone there is expressing the image they’d like to portray. But without verification, there could be countless lies behind their profile. Check IDs and Google anyone you meet online, no matter how badly they protest.
Don’t have sex with anyone until you’ve been introduced to their family and friends.
What’s the rush…. really? A meaningful relationship takes time and commitment. Afraid you’ll lose them if you don’t have sex with them? Guess what. That’s a person worth losing!
If you don’t live in the same town with their family, you can establish a connection through Skype or other resources. How does your love interest communicate with family? However it is, it should include you if they’re committed to making you a permanent part of their life. If they don’t communicate regularly with their family, it’s a very large, vigorously waving, red-flag.
Don’t believe that a man over 45 or a woman over 35 has NO children.
Unless they have a physical condition that prevents procreation, the statistical likelihood that they have no children is a rarity. If they have yet to introduce you to their children, they could be hiding a seriously checkered past.
Don’t look for “love” on dating sites that depict people as “wealthy” or “millionaires.”
Most people with assets want protection from “Gold-Diggers” and will not flaunt this aspect of their identity. Why would anyone try to attract a person who prioritizes their interest in finding “wealth?” Emotional predators lurk on these sites because the participants are tipping them off about what floats their boats. It gives them ammunition to produce an elaborate scam to snag you.
Don’t believe what people tell you about their “ex.”
You’re receiving that information through a very biased prism, one that is sure to make them look like the victim, not the offender. Even if they admit to infidelity, what does that tell you? It should alert you that they can justify betrayal, and YOU will be the recipient this time around.
So what’s a safer way to find true love?
First off, you need to feel that you’re okay without a relationship. You can stand on your own two feet and live a fulfilling, meaningful life. You can find joy in the activities and relationships you treasure. Allowing a person inside your inner circle is an intimacy you bestow on them.
Mankind was built to “couple.” We feel our best when we can express love and support for another human being. So inevitably, our interest in finding a significant other will resurface. Some “do’s” about engaging in romance once again are ..…
“Do” things that make your life worthwhile.
Enjoying your interests will bring you into the path of others who appreciate the same things. Whether it’s religion, art, cooking, the environment, sports, dancing, boating, etc., participate in groups that put you in the company of people who share your preferences.
Do look carefully at how they interact with others, not just you.
Do they “objectify” the people around them, the waiter, the valet, the clerk at the store? Or do they treat everyone with respect and appreciation?
Do they have a history of good-intentions?
It’s easy for wealthy people to give money to causes. It provides them with tax benefits. But do they give their time and pass along help and support when it’s needed? Have they been preoccupied with making money all their lives, or have they stopped along the way to make the world a better place?
Do evaluate what is truly important to you.
Sometimes, in looking at what attracted you to a predator, you’ll see you may have placed importance on superficial value. If you continue to put your interests in the wrong place, you’ll find the wrong person once again. You’ll need to readjust your priorities.
Albert Einstein coined two very relevant phrases that apply to finding new love after a predatory relationship:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new
So, forgive yourself for the choice you made. Recognize that you need to be far more circumspect in your future decisions… not because you were ‘wrong” but because character disordered people share our planet. Your mother never told you because she didn’t know. Mine put up with my abusive father for many decades. So, like me, you learned the hard way. Go forward, not backward with that knowledge.
While I’m quoting Einstein, there’s one more of his phrases that guides me in my efforts to enlighten people about rape by fraud and recover from it:
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
First- we need to examine what a psychopath actually is…
According to Dr. Robert Hare in his highly acclaimed book, Without Conscience, not all psychopaths are the blood-thirsty ghouls we expect them to be. They don’t conduct themselves in ways that are obvious, like breathing fire out of their arm-pits. While they are evil at their core, for the most part, there are no blatant, tell-tale, physical signs.
I’ve heard people say they can tell a psychopath by their stare. But in the exposure I’ve had to individuals I believe are psychopathic, there was no fixed gaze to give them away.
Simply put, a psychopath is a person with the character disorder in which they lack emotional empathy, and therefore, they don’t develop a conscience. As a result, they can commit harmful acts against others with no degree of caring, concern, or remorse.
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist measures their level of harmfullness. But just because they don’t score at the top of the range, does not mean they’re not a psychopath.
Upbringing, not conscience, can deter them from ghoulish behavior. A character disordered child who is abused is more likely to become a heinous deviant than one who is raised in a more supportive environment. A child from an otherwise normal upbringing, is more likely to become a white-collar criminal who lies and cheats, rather than one who conducts unspeakable violence.
Psychopaths often go undetected because their early family life provided them sufficient knowledge about societal expectations to enable them to fit-in. But they are not guided by morality, virtue, or concern for their fellow man. Instead, they are only reigned-in by their fear of discovery or consequences.
How did they get that way?
Since prison settings provide access to a seemingly large volume of psychopaths, their populations are often the subjects for research. But this approach gives us a skewed sense of the frequency of encountering psychopaths in our daily lives.
The rough estimate of the ratio of psychopaths is approximately 4% of the population. But they conduct themselves in a serial fashion and; therefore, harm far more than 4% of mankind.
Modern mental health professionals suspect a genetic link to a pre-disposition to psychopathy. Its existence does not equate to every child of a psychopath becoming a psychopath. Rather, the child of a psychopath is “at-risk” for becoming a psychopath.
What passes along in DNA?
Our brain chemistry makes mankind trusting and caring. The principal neurotransmitter that serves as a foundation for conscience is thought to be, (according to Dr. Paul Zak in The Moral Molecule,) oxytocin. Our genes control our levels of oxytocin and our reaction to it can be shaped through early childhood development.
With normally functioning oxytocin receptors, we experience early bonding and develop emotional empathy, the knee-jerk reaction to the welfare of others. Without oxytocin, or with early developed negativity toward oxytocin, our ability to bond and feel concern for another person’s welfare becomes compromised.
How can we tell whether our child has empathy or not?
If your six year old or older child:
is indifferent to the pain or problems another person exhibits, including their siblings, or you,
throws tantrums when they don’t get their way
puts the safety of others or animals at risk,
is a bully,
is continuously bullied,
exhibits oppositional/defiant behavior
is excessively impulsive,
has a love affair with weapons
commits bodily harm against themselves or others
…..they may be showing early signs of character disorder.
Mental health professionals don’t label children “psychopathic.” Instead, they use the terms, “conduct disorder,” “behavior disorder,” or “emotionally disturbed.” Any of these diagnoses could signal development into character disorder as an adult.
What can I do to correct the problem?
Look seriously at the signs you see from your toddler. Don’t overlook them! They are unlikely to go away on their own! At this stage, you could make a difference.
Are they responsive to cuddling, caring and warmth? Are your attempts at boundary setting conveying love or making them fearful?
According to Dr. Liane Leedom in her ground-breaking book, Just Like His Father, children who are at-risk of becoming psychopaths need an extremely nurturing environment with significant levels of parental warmth. Devote time laughing and being joyous with your at-risk child. Keep as much acrimony from affecting them as possible, and try to reduce the level of stress in your home environment. Abandonment of an at-risk child, by either parent, can have a devastating affect on their development.
If your child reaches the age of six, and their morality is stuck at self-centered, get professional help for them. Involve them in activities that promote sharing and caring like volunteering, helping others, and by providing religious supports. If you are single, spend time with couples who embody cooperation, respect and a loving relationship.
When will I know the results?
Most parents find the teen years trying. But even teenagers will express respect for their parents. Character disordered kids will believe that rules are made to be broken. Teenaged impulsivity can take the form of drugs or alcohol abuse, fighting, truancy, promiscuity and juvenile delinquency. Usually, by their mid twenties, with independence, permanent character becomes obvious.
Your child’s development into psychopathy is impacted by genetics and experiences that can be totally out of your control. But knowing that a child is at-risk, understanding the genetic link to the disorder, can help you create the most supportive environment to deter them from violence. Nothing will impart a conscience to a psychopath.
If you are the unfortunate parent of a character disordered son or daughter, hopefully, you can find peace in knowing you did the best you could with the resources and knowledge you had at the time.
Mankind is noted for having three differing types of empathy: cognitive, emotional and compassionate. But there are significant problems that take place when a person has too much or too little of any specific kind.
Cognitive Empathy- Sensing what’s going on with the people around us
Cognitive empathy enables us to perceive what’s going on with the next person. But just because you know what they are experiencing, and what motivates them, does not mean you’ll exhibit caring or be able to put yourself in their shoes. In fact, it may do just the opposite.
Strong cognitive empathy is the tool that torturers rely on to shake a prisoner down for information. They can detach completely from any sense of pathos toward their victim. People who have high levels of cognitive empathy make great politicians and sales people. When cognitive empathy is accompanied by emotional empathy, it’s a good thing.
Sociopaths that conduct emotional harm are intuitive about the needs and wants of their target. They’ll use cognitive clues to position themselves for acceptance, just like a chameleon changes colors. The problem is, they lack the emotional empathy that reigns-in their self-interest. Most people who recover from relationships with sociopaths think back on them as “reptilians” for good reason. There is a distinct cold-bloodiness in the way they operate.
Having cognitive empathy and no conscience enables swindlers to come up with asset grabs. Bernie Madoff pops to mind as a good example. We often think of con artists as people who try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to an unsuspecting victim.
Emotional Empathy- The knee-jerk reaction to the perils that others experience
Emotional empathy enables us to embrace the feelings of others as if we were sharing their experience. When your heart pops into your mouth as someone falls off their chair, you are experiencing emotional empathy. People with appropriate levels of emotional empathy go through life thinking that everyone has it…. until they crash headfirst into the path of someone who does not. Their efforts to try to convey their experience to others is often met with disbelief, which makes the victim feel even more violated and isolated.
A person with high levels of emotional empathy could be hamstrung from benefiting the person with a problem because they may get too emotional to react in a positive way. That’s where compassionate empathy kicks in.
Compassionate Empathy- How we make a difference in the lives of others
Through compassionate empathy, we can use our emotional empathy to produce a meaningful result. A person with a well balanced level of compassionate empathy would come to the aid of the individual who fell, calling 911 if needed, or problem solving to determine what the situation warrants. People with compassionate empathy will appear outwardly cool in a pinch, even while feeling significant concern for the person who’s in danger. While they might fall apart after the crisis ends, they remain sufficiently detached to provide help when it’s needed.
The risk of compassionate empathy in dating
Having compassionate empathy puts people at risk for becoming victims, particularly in internet dating scams. The actor grooms their target with an overabundance of loving gestures to fuel their sense of belonging and build trust. The offender will jiggle the hook with a small bait-like request for a token “favor.” They may even provide reciprocal favors in return, grooming the victim further.
Ultimately, when they believe the victim is sufficiently snagged, they’ll spring a mega-request, and it’s usually about money, sex, or immigration related. It’s often couched in language that makes the request seem like an emergency. Targets that fail to produce the desired result get hit with a scathing attack aimed at crushing their self esteem. They are often too embarrassed and devastated to immediately seek help. They are stunned by the cessation of love they had counted on. Before they regain their equilibrium, the predator is long gone. and probably bad mouthing them to their next victim.
How empathy factors in our relationships
Emotional empathy is absolutely necessary in sustaining a loving relationship. Without it, a person is only capable of engaging with others on a “What’s in it for me?” basis. While they may pretend to be caring, because they know it’s socially acceptable to do so, their self-centered way of looking at the universe will ultimately surface. There will be no “agreeing to disagree” in order to make peace, a negotiation skill that is vital in order to sustain a relationship when acrimony occurs, as it does in any human interaction.
A mate with no emotional empathy cannot and will not put themselves in your shoes. They simply lack the ability to do so. And without this ability, they cannot develop a conscience. The only limits to their behavior stem from fear of being “outed,” and fear of loss or consequences.
No amount of bargaining, acquiescing, pleading, explaining, or cajoling will change their mindset. It is the way they are wired. Once a person advances past the life stage in which their moral code of conduct forms, they are who they are, and YOU will not change them.
How do you know if you’re dating a sociopath?
Someone who lies to you, in order to seduce you, has little or no emotional empathy. They do not put themselves in your shoes. They see you as a prize, an entitlement, a piece of property, but not as the living, breathing, caring human being that you are. If they were dishonest in their on-line dating description, or other information they initially fed you, they have no conscience. They are self indulgent.
The derisive manipulation of a person without emotional empathy will undermine your well-being. Even if the relationship remains intact, the victim’s self esteem will be shredded. So if you are experiencing loss of worth or other abuse, get help, today!
If you are with someone who displays a lack of emotional empathy toward others, it’s a sign of their real, underlying nature.
But, isn’t there a cure? Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? I felt so loved!
Sociopaths are people who lack emotional empathy. That is how their brain works. They are not sick. They are disordered. They know the difference between right and wrong. They just don’t care. They will not get better, but the longer you endure their behavior, the worse your situation will become.
They played with your brain chemistry to hook you. Find someone who loves you for you, not for your assets or other services you provide for them. Get out before giving birth to their child or financial complications get in the way.
A lucky example of collective compassionate empathy!
All of you with emotional empathy will be happy to know that the group of onlookers in the title photo rushed to the aid of the little boy who dangled from his fathers hands. He plunged 25 feet into their waiting arms, and skied the rest of the day. Thanks to Matt Roeser who had his camera at the ready to snap this awesome testament to compassionate empathy at Hidden Valley in Wisconsin.
Today, I received a CAD Identity post from Canada, from a man who had been defrauded there. It brought home to me, that although we generally see the larger share of romantic frauds, for sex and financial gain, by men against women, there is an extraordinary amount of unscrupulous women who defraud men.
The term we generally ascribe to this phenomenon is Gold-Digger! Their stories abound! If you have one, please post it here! As always, you can, and should change the names of all the participants, including yourself.
The problem of rape by fraud and emotional rape is global. Don’t hesitate to alert us to the country or jurisdiction where this happened to you!
I’m starting with the story of how a Gold-Digger impacted my life...
Young and pretty, she came from the Bronx and was fortunate to find a great job with one of the most prolific music publishers in the world. She was awed by his wealth and connections to the abundant talent in the music business. He was 30 years her senior, a father figure to her.
Narcissists don’t need significant emotional connections. The closeness of loving bonds are not what draws them. Instead, they’re driven by financial gain, fame, stature. He had it all.
When he died, she inherited the businesses he’d built. She needed a boy-toy to accompany her to balls, banquets, fund raisers and events; eye-candy who looked good in a suit, knew what wines to pick, spoke several languages…. someone who could dance and charm her friends. She chose my husband.
We were still married at the time although he had disappeared. There was no internet that helped you locate people back then. He’d left my son and me behind, unsupported. Finding him would have eaten into the money I earned to feed, clothe and raise my child.
We lived in subsidized housing, and I juggled multiple jobs at the same time, in order to provide. There are only 24 hours in a day, and the amount of time I needed to devote to making a living diminished the time I could spend nurturing him. Our relationship still suffers the impacts of that loss today. Meanwhile, my estranged husband enjoyed the largess of one of the wealthiest women on the planet. He worked in her office and lived in her duplex apartment on Fifth Avenue, just a few short blocks from our home. We traveled in far different social circles. Our paths never crossed.
She enabled him to deprive his child and eroded my finances. When I was finally able to drag his CADdish rear end into court, my son was 17 and about to go to college. I needed to recoup whatever I could in order to send him. My attorney tried to secure tax returns and income statements. He stonewalled. His income was untraceable. He had lived off the grid in her generosity. He claimed he had no job and was homeless, sleeping on his parent’s couch in Florida. I couldn’t afford a forensic accountant or private detective without putting my child’s education at risk. I had no idea what I would find, and no amount of wild imagining could have conjured up the truth!
The amount of money it would have taken to provide adequately for his family was a pittance to them. She simply didn’t give a damn. Gold-Diggers have no heart. When I learned what had actually transpired, I wrote to her. She never responded and they neither attempted to make amends nor repair the cavernous hole that his duplicity created in my finances.
There is so much more to this story, that lead me to create this blog and my efforts to enlighten society about the crime of rape by fraud. It’s said that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. I was blessed with the spirit and strength to live through the pain, and the will to help enlighten and change society. I thank God for the friends who helped me through!
I’ve learned that there are different kinds of wealth in life. While they have money, I have a richness of fulfillment that they will never experience. Character disordered people are incapable of love. I am truly blessed!
Many of us who suffered through emotional abuse feel our sorrow more intensely during the holiday season. As we see families come together in love and support, we’re reminded of the happiness we lost.
But did we really lose it? Or did we simply lose the image of what we’d hoped for, that was never to be? Often, holidays with emotional predators were as painful, and perhaps more so, than any other day. Continue reading Create A New Tradition of Joy!→
There seems to be a very large misconception about what rape by fraud is, and what emotional rape is. And often they take place together. When this occurs, it’s hard for the victim to separate which is which.
Tricking a person to steal their love
and involve them in a relationship.
Rape by Fraud:
Tricking a person to steal sex
How emotional rape works
Being pranked for a relationship is emotional rape. The term does not denote a “sexual act” Rather, it describes the sense of having your highest emotion, which is love, stolen from you.
In emotional rape, a person creates a hoax about their character, or what their intentions are, and perpetuates that hoax over time. The unknowing victim provides love and caring that is undeserved and will feel violated when they learn the truth. Cases of emotional rape can lead to engagement and marriage with a partner who is not what they pretend to be.
When the victim discovers the truth, they may not react as society expects. People with high levels of morality and the brain chemistry that induces attachments will continue to feel bound by the bond of love that was established. They’ll experience the toxic glue of a Trauma Bond, also known as a Betrayal Bond, that keeps them feeling the chemical ties created by the neurotransmitters in their brain, enabling our species to “couple.” Please use this link to determine if a Betrayal Bond is affecting you. And refer to Dr. Patrick Carnes’ book, Betrayal Bond, Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships for further information.
Separating from an emotional predator can take considerable time and toxic interaction in the relationship. Often victims will defend their mate even though society will see their behavior as misguided. People without a deep-rooted sense of bonding will have an easier time breaking off the relationship. They’ll react more immediately to the realization of their situation. Victims who were previously abused, or whose moral code of conduct creates a sense of unconditional love, will be more forgiving.
How rape by fraud works
Rape by fraud is an actual, physical act of rape. Sexual assault or sexual contact takes place when a person is engaged in an act of sexually penetration without their freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement…. consent. Defrauding a person of the physical act of sex vitiates their “consent” for sex, and is therefore punishable in some states. Tennessee and Alabama have the most direct laws in dealing with offenders who defraud victims for acts of sexual penetration.
Model penal code states that “consent is INEFFECTIVE if induced by force, duress or deception.” Therefore, a person who is sexually penetrated as a result of deception, is being physically raped.
This form of rape is similar in trauma to being drugged or intoxicated to vitiate consent. Violence did not occur to overwhelm the victim in any of these forms of sexual assault. Instead the victim was outwitted.
Other forms of criminal “outwitting.”
If an offender beat a man as he approached his car, took his keys and drove away, we’d readily recognize his actions as auto theft.
If the offender pretended to be the valet in front of a restaurant, took the man’s keys and drove off with his car, we would also recognize the act as auto theft; even though the man willingly handed over his keys and didn’t realize he was being robbed in the moment.
The first act was theft accomplished by violence. The second was theft accomplished by fraud. The offender would be charged differently for the violent act and sentenced more harshly, but both are criminal offenses.
Distinctions in charging the offender with a rape crime
All forms of rape should be punished in every state. If the person were violently overwhelmed, their act of rape would warrant a more “aggravated” level of charge. The sexual assaults that do not involve violence to overwhelm the victim are a lesser offense. But all acts of rape, or sexual assault, should be punished.
Is emotional rape a crime?
Emotional rape is morally reprehensible. It steals a lifetime from the victim. It embroils them in marriages that are not what the victim perceives. When it generates offspring, those relationships exist for a lifetime, and often in a fashion that shatters lives. But is it a criminally punishable offense? Unfortunately, it is not penalized in any state in the US. It could; however, become a civil matter if there were sufficient awareness of this pattern of wrong doing.
You will get a much clearer grasp of the distinction between emotional rape and rape by fraud by reading Carnal Abuse by Deceit, which accurately conveys these issues in a real-world setting.
Every act of physically and sexually penetrating a person without their freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, is and should be punishable throughout the US!
You awake to a very large, strong man covering your mouth with one hand, making it difficult to breathe, let alone scream. In the other hand, he’s clenching a knife millimeters from your face. Terror seizes your entire body and you react…. but how?
Fight or flight is the response society expects in violent attacks. Your hypothalamus and pituitary take over, instantly flooding you with hormones to protect your sustainability.
Adrenalin arouses you to your circumstance.
Cortisol provides you with uncommon energy.
Opiods act like morphine to temporarily blind you to your pain.
Oxytocin attempts to stabilize your emotions.
Totally apart from your conscious control, you may be like millions of other sexual assault survivors who freeze.
It is estimated that 12 to 50% of rape victims will respond by freezing, and it is thought that the number is closer to 50% than 12%. Also, victims who experienced prior sexual trauma are more likely to experience this temporary paralysis.
The impacts on seeking justice
Policing is currently practiced under the misconception that victims will either fight with all their might to fend off brutality, or do everything in their power to free themselves. Absent evidence of doing either or both, they assume that the victim’s crime report is a lie. Approximately 86% of rapes, even those supported by a rape kit, do not make their way from the Patrolman to the Prosecutor for this reason. Yet data reported by the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women indicates only 2-8% of rape accusations are false.
A natural phenomenon
Freezing, Tonic Immobility, also known as thanatosis, is an automatic response to rape as well as other forms of trauma in humans. But we are not the only animal that experiences this phenomenon. The most widely
known is the
opossum,which is why “playing dead” is also referred to as “playing opossum.” Mammals are wired with the option to look and appear dead to their attacker for protection. In sharks, rolling onto their back and becoming paralyzed enables mating.
Other impacts on the victim’s post-rape “affect”
During rape, the cocktail of hormones surging through the human body block the ability of the brain’s hippocampus to organize and store thought. Many rape victims, who are interrogated shortly after their trauma, have yet to recover cognition. Police, who don’t understand their behavior, suspect that the victim is inventing the story as they speak, when they are actually attempting to puzzle together disparate pieces that were blocked from encoding by their brain’s hormonal overload.
Their ‘affect” or appearance, may not seem emotionally charged as one would expect after a heinous assault. They could remain under the influence of those same opiods that deterred their reaction and dulled their senses during the crime.
Undermining self esteem
Victims who freeze struggle with an innate sense of guilt. Their response defied their own personal expectation that if something bad happened to them, they would fight to the death or flee. We go through life taking comfort in the concept that we are able to protect our mortality, and we respond to rape as a struggle for life. Most of society sees fight or flight as being brave, because we don’t understand that freezing is the same act of self-preservation. People who experience the trauma of rape by fraud are also plagued with similar self-blame.
How tonic immobility factors in rape by fraud
I recall vomiting and collapsing on the cold bathroom floor, immobile, when I first learned the initial lie that was used to defraud me into a sexual relationship. Little did I know, there were far more lies behind it.
Defrauding someone of sex strips them of both fight and flight to defend their body. The victim could not react, because they did not know. Their behavior, throughout the time they were assaulted, which could span years, uproots their personal sense of being able to protect themselves. The recognition that a sexual assault by fraud took place can be a paralyzing trauma.
The victim’s failure to protect their personal sexual sanctity also obscures society’s recognition that a crime took place against them. And it undermines the victim’s self-esteem in much the same way having been immobilized does in violent cases. The victim suffers secondary victimization from society, family, friends, the authorities and themselves when dealing with rape by fraud. It’s little wonder that knowing you were deceived into sex is so terribly degrading for a victim, and why it is so difficult to heal.
Media should be paying far closer attention to Tonic Immobility, just as it should be identifying the heinous nature of rape by fraud and its impacts on victims.
Watch this TEDx Talk for the key to combating sexual assault!
Inspiration for this post came from information I received from a woman who comments under the name “Semi” on US Weekly. Unless otherwise linked, the source for the data and statistics is The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault,written and presented by Dr. Rebecca Campbell, Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to watch her scholarly presentation.
Why victims suffer this disabling anxiety condition
PTSD is normally associated with warfare
My father fought in the Philippines during World War II. One hot, dark, buggy night, he woke up to find a Japanese soldier squatting over him, about to thrust a bayonet into his neck. I knew better than to ever ask him the fate of that soldier. The fact that he came home to our family was all we needed to know.
Whenever my dad was aroused from sleep, he’d awaken with a start. I’m sure that was only a small example of how PTSD affected him. But it was visible to me, even as a small child.Today, society readily understands that combat soldiers can suffer from PTSD. It was a far less public discussion in my father’s time.
I never expected that I would encounter any type of danger that could create the disorder for me, but I was wrong.
The emotional causes of PTSD
Modern day health professionals have concluded that emotionally shattering experiences undermine our sense of invulnerability and cause PTSD. People naturally assume that life is both benevolent and meaningful. And we consider ourselves to be worthy beings. An encounter with rape by fraud can shred every vestige of our beliefs about both life and our place in it. It undermines our value system.
If this happened to you, depending on the length of time the hoax took place, you built expectations that were predictable. Learning that everything you valued was nothing more than a house of cards crushed your sense of safety and well-being. And the notion that you were used as an instrument of your own demise was especially crushing. It is why Socrates said that “sex by persuasion” as he called rape by fraud, is particularly compelling because it undermines the character of the victim. Recognition of the heinous nature of this behavior spans centuries. It’s nothing new.
While rape by fraud victims do not undergo the brutal torment of violence, the blow to their emotional makeup can be devastating. Their injuries are far more severe than the trifling stupidities that people hurl their way…. “Just get over it,” “So what,” “Find a decent guy.” And even worse, “You just misunderstood.” In many ways, the lack of validation people hurl at victims serves to deepen their despair. They not only have to deal with the betrayal that affects them at their core, but also with the abandoning mindset of the very people they count on for support.
Some symptoms of PTSD include:
Memories that are triggered by daily events, making you tremendously sad.
Sleeplessness, the inability to turn off the record running through your brain
Loss of interest in your daily life.
Hermit behavior, unwillingness to go out and face possible reminders
Irritability and anger over small incidents.
Victims who experience rape by fraud should seek professional help to recover. Just as a soldier needs therapy to improve, no one should try to tackle PTSD on their own. If you can’t afford a private therapist, contact your local hospital and find out if they have a low cost mental health clinic that can help you. Reach out to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, for information and support.
I remember all too clearly what it felt like to hear a vinyl record skip on my old stereo. I’d play it loud so I could listen to music throughout the house. If I were in another room, repetition over the distance increased my discomfort. I’d dash back and dive at the needle to stop the offending sound.
Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are tortured with repeated loud music. It’s intended to derail their thought processes and break them emotionally.
So why do victims of relationship abuse do the emotional equivalent of compulsively replaying bad music in their brain? The simply answer is grief.
Regurgitating, negative, non-productive thought
Rumination will plague us during the “bargaining” stage of grief recovery. And everyone who loses a relationship needs to grieve that loss as surely as one needs to mourn the death of a loved one.
In bargaining, we tend to ask ourselves what we could or should have done to produce a different outcome. In reality, when we’ve been embroiled in a relationship hoax, nothing, other than not getting involved in the first place could have kept the bond from collapsing. Engaging with a liar builds a house of cards. Discovering that nothing you valued was real, is a devastating loss.
Typically, women ruminate over sadness, while men are more inclined to do so when angry. But both can get stuck in a wallowing cycle that puts off supporters and isolates us in our pain. Family members and friends often don’t relate to the impact of our emotional loss, as they would if someone close to us died. But the grief and mourning we experience is very similar.
Why relieve yourself of rumination?
It robs you of problem solving and creates a vicious cycle of depression. While you perseverate to make sense of things, you dwell on the unsolvable issues….. how you got there, what you could have done differently. Instead, you need to focus on how you will reclaim your life.
We are more likely to ruminate over unfinished business….. the circumstances that occur in our lives without closure. We want validation. We need to accept that it will not come in a relationship with a predator, and move on. Our memory rehearsals keep us connected to the source of our pain, when we truly need to let go.
How to get past rumination
In The Truth About Grief, Ruth Davis Konigsburg tells us, “Loss is forever, but acute grief is not.” If someone close to you died, you’d be encouraged to get exercise. Your friends would try to distract you by engaging you in activities you enjoy. You need to be your best friend and provide yourself with that same encouragement.
Here are some recommendations that can help you get past rumination:
Don’t be bullied to change the way you feel. Allow yourself to feel your loss, the anger the disappointment. Everyone grieves at different speeds. There is no right or wrong way.
Get exercise. You need to pump up your endorphins so you have a deeper emotional well to draw from.
Distract yourself with activities that get you away from your constant memories. Begin to make new, positive memories for yourself.
Box it up. Write your story so you can put it on the shelf. Doing so will enable you to let go of the need to hang onto it in your mind.
Volunteer for an effort that makes you feel good about yourself. There is nothing more gratifying than to help someone in need. Doing so will give you a strong sense of self-reliance and can aid you in seeing that no one goes through life without a struggle, including you. It will enable you to create better perspective about your painful condition.
Join a grief support group or engage in counseling. Mourning a loss is difficult. Seeking help can get you past the thoughts that keep you stuck.
The loss of a loved one throws us for a loop, whether the person deserved our caring or not. People who experience sexual misconduct and relationship abuse, resulting from being embroiled in a hoax, are no less in need of grieving than anyone else. Rumination can be a debilitating part of that process but you can heal and bring joy back into your life.
The fervor over this law is just plain ridiculous!
I have responded to many posts I’ve seen and wanted to share a recent one with you that appears in reaction to Joan Quigley’s article this morning in NJ.com.
Joan Quigley got it right!
I am the author of “Carnal Abuse by Deceit.” Before you tune me out for shameless promotion, please understand that my book is about rape by fraud. It is the story of what happened to me, and makes it understandable why this is a crime. I came to the aid of the victim in NJ on her issues against Will Jordan.
But do I support a law that makes every person who tells a fib or wears perfume a rapist? Absolutely not! And my take on equating “rape by fraud” with “rape by violence” is that it grossly over reaches!
Here is what I suggested and why….
The It’sOnUS pledge clearly states “Non-Consensual Sex is Sexual Assault.” It is endorsed by President Obama.
Model Penal Code clearly states, in its Global Consent provision….. “Consent is INEFFECTIVE if induced by force, duress or DECEPTION.”
In every type of punishable crime of fraud, the victim gave consent, but it was ineffective consent. The perpetrator knew the consent was ineffective, even though the victim did not at the time of the action.
A law on Sexual Assault by Fraud should be created to connect the dots between these three very important and legally understood premises. No one should be violated by deception in order to get into their pants! And this includes women as well as men!
When a person lies to you in order to VITIATE your KNOWING CONSENT, they are violating you, not seducing you.
So what do we call this crime?
Yes, genetically, rape by fraud is a sexual violation which is “rape.” But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water over semantics. It does not rise to the horrific nature of the crime of violence, to overwhelm and penetrate someone’s genitalia, that most people think of as “rape.” That’s why laws have distinctions such as “aggravated” and “degrees” of severity. I offered language to the Assemblyman to include in the legislation that would make that concept absolutely clear. Leaving it out was a huge mistake.
There are many ways a person’s knowing consent can be violated: They can be physically overwhelmed through violence, by intoxication, by dope, by deceit, by coercion, by being underage or too mentally challenged to provide such consent. Every way to deprive a person of self determination over their intimate core is a physical invasion of their body, a sexual assault.
Non-violent sexual assault should not be punished to the extent that violent sexual assault should be, but it surely should be punished!
It was and is my recommendation that non-consensual sexual assault, of this nature, be considered “sexual misconduct” rather than “sexual assault.” It should apply in cases where the offender has either conducted fraud in the factum or fraud in the inducement… legal terms you will find in my book. Again, please pardon the shameless self-promotion but I wrote it for a reason…. to help people understand this crime and why it’s a crime.
On enhancements and fibs
Rape by fraud as “sexual misconduct”, in the mainstream of its use, would not punish people for appearance enhancements. People have eyes. They see the other person’s appearance. It is either pleasing to them or not. The Spanx come off before penetration! As will the padded bra or pants that are stuffed with a tennis ball. So let’s not be ridiculous about it.
It is obvious to the observer when someone wears perfume. My favorite is Boucharon. No one in their right mind would ever think that’s what I smelled like without applying it.
This crime revolves around “false personation.”
There are lies of intent as well as lies of identity used in “sexual misconduct” scenarios. When a person pretends to be someone other than who they actually are, the term “false personation” applies. (See FL criminal code on fraud.)
A lie of intent, “I’ll marry you in the morning,” could not be punished. The perpetrator could simply say, “I changed my mind.”
The burden of proof on any prosecution is the District Attorney’s. They cannot indict without the Grand Jury and the jury being on board. So while little white lies are CADdish behavior, (Carnal Abuse by Deceit,) they are not the stuff of prosecution.
Cases of “false personation,” identity characteristics that transform a person from their actual identity into someone else, is the level of crime that is prosecutorial. The victim has sex with a stranger, not the person they intended. It is defiling. It happened to me for 3.5 years. It literally changed my life.
Determination of penalty
Also, keep in mind, mental health professionals will tell you that the longer the hoax persists, the more damage the victim sustains. Instead of being defiled once, they were defiled multiple times. It is devastating to know that someone you trusted treated you this way, and that they manipulated your cooperation in what they did to you. The length of the offense can be another issue in ascribing the penalty for this crime.
The press rushed to judgement that the penalty would be equivalent to violent rape, They were incorrect. Assemblyman Singleton was leaving the discussion of penalty to the law makers and process whose job is to figure it out.
Prosecution for defrauding to spread communicable disease
Here is a tremendous benefit this law will provide…. Predators who knowingly hide communicable illness can be prosecuted under this law. There will be no more free ride when they knowingly pass along HIV or any other life-altering disease.
This law is to protect against an insidious crime. It is not to incarcerate jerks. But jerks should be fully aware that when they behave like jerks, they are violating, not seducing you. Is it offensive? Absolutely! Is it punishable? Very unlikely! There is simply not sufficient proof to build a case under this or any law.
As a UGA Alum, I was particularly interested in checking on rape by fraud laws in the Peach State. And, although there’s no specific mention in their criminal code, Georgia has an interesting statute that should apply.
Back in 1962, Model Penal Code was drafted to standardize penal laws throughout the US. Its Global Consent provision states that:
Consent is ineffective if induced by force, duress, or deception.
Basically, this means that consent, obtained by deception, is not consent at all.
Georgia’s rape law clearly identifies the crime committed through the use of force or duress. And 16-6022.1, Sexual Battery, should apply in cases of deceit when the concept of “consent” is based on Model Penal Code’s Global Consent provision.
Georgia continues to outlaw fornication and adultery as criminal acts. So be careful, all you Hairy Dawgs!. You can land in jail for having sex out of wedlock with either a single or married person.
The “E” in e-dating could readily stand for “Easy Pickin’s!”
Gone are the days when families oversaw the courtship of the younger generation. Dowries and chaperoned strolls through the park, characteristic of the 17th century, are long gone. But Andrew G. Gardner, in his Colonial Williamsburg article, Courtship, Sex and the Single Colonist, describes that even in the era of the Puritans, one third of marriages took place with a “bun in the oven.”
Jane Austen’s day was not without scoundrels who made commitments and flew the coupe, leaving the maiden in the socially unacceptable circumstance of being unmarried and pregnant. And young men frequently sought their fortune through their matches. Love often took a back seat to pragmatism and concern for the betterment of the family.
Back then, families were less transient and people knew the character of others who lived in their village or town. A slip in behavior, bad dealings with others, was hard to suppress and marred a person’s reputation for a lifetime.
So why should we expect technology that readily transports strangers into our lives is a safe way to meet a mate? And what about our moral structure enables us to think it okay to engage in sex without thoroughly vetting our love interest?
Whatever a person tells you online could be true, or a total fabrication. And people can transport their charm through techno space as readily as if they sat beside you. What they say can be truth or fiction, depending on their moral compass. They know, if you are looking for love, you are the perfect mark.
Duping people is an art form. And the well practiced CAD is hard to spot. They can lure you with a sympathy play, by mirroring your values, by flattery, and countless other practices that erode your guard.
Some safety guidelines
I’m not saying that you should never engage in internet dating, but rather, you should do so with great caution. Here are some basic protections you should employ:
Check the photo ID of anyone you meet online. Is it unromantic? Yup… but if the person cares about your safety, they won’t be offended.
Be sure to note their age and address. Is it the same information you initially received from them? There is no excuse for a lie of identity. If they told you one, walk out the door. You will never be anything but an object to that person, no matter how charming they appear to be.
Google them. Check them out on Linked-In and their Facebook page. Do they work for a company with a web presence? The likelihood is great that if they used technology to find you, but don’t have other social technology, they are hiding something.
Don’t have a sexual relationship with anyone until you have met other people who know them. Sex is chemically bonding. Regardless how you feel about them before the fireworks, you will feel more compelled toward them afterward. It’s how the neurotransmitters in your brain work.You will be more susceptible to their lies once you’ve had sex with them which is why impostors will try to quickly sweep you off your feet. Too much, too fast is likely to be a con.
Remember that there are two sides to every story. People who parent children together, regardless of the fact that they are divorced, should get along with their ex. Not doing so should run up a red flag.
Not having a bond with parents is a pretty good indication that they are unable to bond, period. Even if a person suffered abuse, they will still feel a bond of love. While they may establish healthy boundaries, they will care about their parent’s well being. People who have no relationship with their parent are likely to be unable to bond. And they may cook up stories of abuse as a sympathy play to explain away their lack of caring.
Be mindful of the signs that people give off that indicate they have weak or non-existent emotional empathy. How do they treat the waiter? The valet? The cab driver? Have they engaged in any kind of activity for the betterment of others?
You can improve your safety in internet dating by being vigilant and recognizing that one out of 25 people are sociopaths and many more have sociopathic of character disordered traits. Don’t think falling into a predator’s path can’t happen to you.
This post initially appeared on November 14, 2014:
William Allen Jordan, who defrauded NJ resident Mischele Lewis of sex and money, took a plea deal, for 3 years behind bars, today! In addition, he’ll be required to pay $4,383 in restitution, and a $15,000 fine. He can have no contact with Lewis for the rest of his life. His sentence begins on February 6, 2015.
There’s a great deal more to the back story!
I was contacted to help Mischele because I’d authored a book about the romance scam that happened to me. Carnal Abuse by Deceit was published 4 months prior to my learning about Mischele. I wrote it to raise awareness and help victims like her recover from Rape by Fraud or Deception. I was encouraged that, indeed, it was hitting its mark and I spent countless hours speaking with Mischele by phone, through emails, and in person in order to help her. Continue reading William Allen Jordan Gets Jail Time!→
OMG! When you cross the state line into Alabama, the sign should read, “Now Entering Alabama, The State of Enlightenment!”
Alabama’s not just noteworthy for the successes of The Crimson Tide. The Code of Alabama punishes the unspecified use of fraud in sexual intercourse as “Sexual Misconduct,” a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or up to two years in jail. The statute applies to both male and female offenders.
Here is the law:
(a) A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct if:
(1) Being a male, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female without her consent, under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-61 and 13A-6-62; or with her consent where consent was obtained by the use of any fraud or artifice; or
(2) Being a female, she engages in sexual intercourse with a male without his consent; or
(3) He or she engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-63 and 13A-6-64. Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.
(b) Sexual misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor.
(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §2318.)
Don’t defraud someone of sex in Alabama! What more can I say other than thank you, Alabama!
Way back in 1889, the US, after several failed attempts, succeeded in unilaterally annexing the Hawaiian Islands. The coupe was motivated by a desire to obtain close, direct access to Guam and the Philippines during the Spanish American War.
But conflict over the independence of the Islands is ongoing. As recently as 2001, a complaint was filed with the United Nations Security Council demanding that Hawaii’s continuity as an independent state remain intact under international law. And judging by the disparity in laws over rape by fraud, I’d come down heavily on the side of an independent Hawaiian Kingdom!
Whoever, by conspiracy or by willful falsehood or deceit, seduces, causes or procures any unmarried female to commit fornication, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment at hard labor not more than two years.
The person knowingly trespasses on property for the purpose of subjecting another person to surreptitious surveillance for the sexual gratification of the actor.
The term “surreptitious” is defined in normal parlance as “stealthy, sly, and sneaky.” One would need to argue that these definitions accurately describe the actions of the offender. Although the penetration of the offender is not specifically punished, his (or her) intent to eye-ball (peep) the victim for sexual gratification is. Unless they claim their eyes were closed during the act of penetration, this statute would seem to apply. Still, enforcement would be limited to an intrusion into a victim’s home since it requires a “trespass.”
Hawaii’s statutes currently punish sexual acts of coercion and abuse of authority.
Kimberly Raya’s son plays for a high school marching band that’s been given the honor of performing in the upcoming Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Parade in Hawaii. This post is dedicated to her efforts to raise funds so she can share this unique experience with him. KIm helps countless abuse victims recover their dignity on her blog, LetMeReach, and I hope you will lend support to her for this special event by clicking the “Special Dedication” link above.
Does lying about sexual preference constitute rape by fraud?
I was asked this question by a blog participant, and I believe its importance warrants a post of its own. Her question was framed in light of recent developments in penal code in New Jersey, but the answer is universal. So, here’s my response…..
Pertaining to New Jersey
First off, law in NJ has not been finalized, so it’s premature to give you a definitive answer for that specific state. Even once the statute is submitted to the Assembly, a significant amount of debate, and the submission of amendments, may alter its language.
But I’d like to answer your question from a broader perspective, that of whether pretending to be straight actually qualifies. generically, as sexual assault by fraud.
Character distortion and how it applies
There are basically two types of lies that offenders will use in fraud in the “inducement,” which is the sort of fraud where the actor pretends to be something or someone they are not. There are lies of “intent” and lies of “identity.” In the case you’re referring to, denying that someone is gay would seem to be a major character lie and, therefore, meet the definition of a lie of false identity.
Obstacles for this particular circumstance
But here’s where the line gets blurred….. All victims of lies of identity will feel defiled. And the longer the lie is perpetuated, the greater the harm they suffer. The victim is embroiled in a hoax. Unfortunately, however, when you speak of lies about a person’s sexual proclivity, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether the person deliberately lied to mislead you, or were they struggling through their own personal identification issues? In other words, were they lying to you, or lying to themselves? It’s only a deliberate lie if the answer is, unequivocally, they were fully aware and lying intentionally.
Another obstacle to hurdle is whether concealment is a form of lying. In some states it is. In others, it’s not.
I’m told that people who are gay know it from an early age. I’m no expert, however, and conceivably, this could differ from person to person. But certainly, if the actor knew he was gay, and intentionally pretended to be straight because attachment to you gave him “cover,” indeed, in my opinion, he would have been conducting sexual assault by fraud.
A person’s actual motivations are extremely difficult to prove in a courtroom. One would think that having had past homosexual liaisons would be a sure tip off. But we have so little concrete awareness of when and how people deem themselves to be homosexual, that I could see this type of case posing significant challenges in a courtroom.
But that should not deter the victim from coming to grips with the fact that they suffered rape by fraud. We don’t need a judge’s decision to know how we feel, but only to prosecute offenders. We would hope that offenders would be deterred by society’s penal codes, and that’s why we establish them. Also, we attempt to seek justice for the victims of crimes by enforcing those laws.
When did his actions cross the line?
If your husband had doubts when he married you, somewhere along the line, his doubts turned into conviction. And at that time, it was his responsibility to let you know. Every time he engaged in sexual contact with you under false pretenses, he was simply selfishly holding onto the perks in his life, that he valued, by denying you your inherent right to self determination over your personal sexual sanctity. And, by the way, this same principle would hold true in a relationship where the woman was gay and the man was straight.
Applying the concept of Emotional Rape
It is also my belief that you were emotionally raped. Emotional rape results when an offender steals your highest emotion, which is love, through deception. Even if he never laid a hand on you once he conceived of himself as gay, he selfishly fed the bond that kept you together by fabricating and perpetuating a hoax. In fact, part of his subterfuge was likely to have included undermining your feelings of attractiveness and desirability to cover up for his lack of sexual interest in you. Since emotional rape is not a physical act, it is unlikely you will ever see penal code to punish offenders. That should not deter victims, however, from feeling validation regarding their sense of defilement.
New York’s got something for every taste and interest.
No matter what your sports or cultural bent… it’s here. There’s the NY Football Giants, the Rangers, the Knicks, the Yankees, the Mets, the Nets…. Heck, we have the biggest tennis venue in the world, the US Open!
You can travel around the globe through NY’s wide assortment of international restaurants. Take your pick from the Afghan Kebab in Queens to Zoma, serving up the delights of Zimbabwe in Harlem.
Want an education? Your choices could include Columbia, NYU, CUNY, Marymount Manhattan, The New School, St. John’s University, and on, and on. The choices seem endless!
So it should come as no surprise that New York has a wide assortment of sex offenses in its penal code. Our diverse list includes sexual misconduct, rape, criminal sexual act, forcible touching, criminal sexual abuse, persistent sexual abuse, and more. But where’s rape by fraud? Hmmm….
The answer could be buried deep within the concept of 130.20, Sexual misconduct.
A person is guilty of sexual misconduct when:
He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without such person`s consent; or
He or she engages in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct with another person without such person’s consent;
Sexual misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.
Rape in the third degree contains more language by which a case of rape by fraud should prevail. However, further legal interpretation by the state seems to have restrained this application to cases they have deemed to be date rape. In fact, most cases of rape by fraud are, indeed, cases of date rape. Instead of intoxicating or doping the victim, the offender vitiates their victim’s consent through duplicity.
130.25 Rape in the third degree. A person is guilty of rape in the third degree when: . . . . . 3. He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent where such lack of consent is by reason of some factor other than incapacity to consent.
§ 130.25 Rape in the third degree.
A person is guilty of rape in the third degree when:
1. He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is
incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than
seventeen years old;
2. Being twenty-one years old or more, he or she engages in sexual
intercourse with another person less than seventeen years old; or
3. He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without
such person's consent where such lack of consent is by reason of some
factor other than incapacity to consent.
Rape in the third degree is a class E felony.
Both criminal acts depend on the definition of “consent.” In all fraud law, including New York State’s, only “knowing consent” is legally valid consent. Therefore, if a victim is defrauded of their knowing consent in NY State, sexual misconduct or third degree rape should apply. If my case didn’t go back 40 years, I’d file a complaint.
Some of the most learned commentary on rape by fraud law comes out of NY State. A comprehensive treatise by Patricia J. Falk, Law Professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, was published in 1998 in the Brooklyn Law Review. More recently, Daniel J. Slomnicki published his findings in NYSBA’s Law Student Connection. Mr. Slomnicki has interned with both the Queens District Attorney and the Kings County District Attorney.
NY is the state in which I was personally defrauded of sex for three and a half years. That defilement had an extraordinary and permanent affect on my life. I intend to make a difference in this state so it doesn’t happen to anyone else. Stay tuned!
While the pilgrims suffered countless obstacles to navigate uncharted waters, their descendants surely failed to rise above the sea of legal rhetoric on rape by fraud back in 2008. It was a tragically lost opportunity.
In Suliveres v. Commonwealth, 449 Mass. 112 (2007), the court deemed the defendant not guilty in a case in which he disguised himself as his brother to have sex with the brother’s girlfriend. Another MA case of rape by fraud was similarly dismissed when a lab technician passed himself off as a doctor.
Then Representative, Peter J. Koutoujian, currently the Sheriff of Middlesex County, proposed a law to make rape by fraud a crime. The law was considered “too broad,” and was voted down. The principle behind what defines “too broad” is that the law could be carried out if a man poses as single when, in fact, he’s married.
The following is a quote from CBS News at the time:
Rape by deception is just as damaging and illegal as rape by force, said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone. If the law passes here, a common concern is that the legislation’s vague language regarding deception will result in women who have been seduced by men posing as someone else or claiming to be unmarried filing rape charges.
So let’s examine the concept by which the law was rejected….
Joe Hitched, (sorry guys but this occurs far more frequently with men fooling women than women fooling men,) is on his own for a week. His wife is out of town to care for her father who just had heart surgery. Joe’s feeling bored and decides to go hang out at the neighborhood watering hole, the one with the loud music, pool table, and pretty women.
As Joe approaches the door, he takes off his wedding band, surveying his hand to see if he can detect a faint line where the ring normally sits. Content that his deception won’t be noticed, he finds a seat at the crowded bar and orders a beer.
Susie Single, fresh from a recent breakup with her boyfriend, is standing next to him. He offers to buy her a drink and they begin a chatting, friendly banter. He challenges her to a game of pool and before you know it, they’re kicking it up on the dance floor. When the beat turns to a slow simmer, he puts an arm around her waist and they sway seductively to the music.
Susie’s impressed with his good looks. She’s an intelligent woman, a nurse. He’s well spoken, seems like an educated guy, and he has a fun loving disposition. She’s not one to succumb to the flirting of the moment, but she gives him her number. When she gets home, she “Googles” him. He works where he said he did. Nothing negative appears on the internet.
Joe calls the very next day. “What a catch,” Susie thinks, “someone who’s not a game player!” She accepts his invitation for dinner. He makes a reservation for a romantic dinner cruise, and he tells her all about his divorce and the two kids he’s estranged from, since his terrible ex is giving him a hard time.
Susie’s heart melts. She feels an instant chemistry with Joe. He seems like the perfect guy… interested in his children, easy to talk to, hard-working. When he walks her to the door, and kisses her good-night, she’s caught up in the passion and invites him in. They have totally consensual, so she thinks, sex, that night, the next, and the next.
When his wife returns, Joe covers up his marriage by saying he needs to travel for business. Susie understands that his job takes him away, until she runs into him shopping with his wife at the local mall.
So, was their sex consensual? She agreed to it, right? Or was she defrauded into it?
Susie was raised by her mother after her father made off with his secretary. She was adamant that she would never do to a family what her father had done to hers. Had she known Joe was married, she would not have gotten involved with him. Joe not only broke his marriage vows, he embroiled Susie in adultery and sexually assaulted her by fraud.
Why do our laws insist in protecting offenders who do this to women all the time? Why would a state deliberately turn its back on protecting a woman against assault by someone pretending to be her boyfriend or her doctor, in order to give Joe Hitched carte blanche to defile Susie Single? Is it because so many people do this that our Legislators are concerned they won’t get re-elected if they stand for the right thing?
Divorce is rampart in our country. Often, marriages crumble because it’s so easy to step out and hook up in another relationship. While people will argue that our courts will be inundated with charges against offenders, I’d argue that the volume of divorce is likely to diminish when offenders realize there are real and meaningful consequences to this behavior.
And the very simple response to the concept that our courts will be overrun with rape by fraud claims is: people should stop taking off their rings to defraud others of sex. But even if they don’t, cases of “he said, she said,” are unlikely to meet the burden of proof required for prosecution. Prosecuting a “rape by fraud” case would take “proofs” that will hold up in a courtroom, not the unsupported lies that are common in hook-ups. For that reason, even though Joe committed what we can see, generically, as “rape by fraud,” will he be prosecuted? Probably no.
If we’d like to live in a moral society, our laws must conform with morality. Sexually assaulting someone by fraud is both morally reprehensible and a crime. Just because Joe Hitched won’t be charged, does not make it less so.
Sadly, the Sheriff’s efforts, from the town where I was born, failed to acknowledge that duplicity invalidates consent in all things, including sex. I take this one personally.