Will you be in NYC on March 23rd? If so, you’ll receive a warm welcome at the Church of the Advent Hope when I address the congregation on:
What does CONSENT really mean?
As all who read this Web Page know, “Consent” is the crucial weapon in the war on sexual assault! Come help spread the word and find out what you can do to create a society of consent-aware children, our best hope for a safer future.
It took me 4 years to write my first book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit. I published it in 2013. That means I began the process of trying to straighten out society’s understanding and laws on rape ten years ago. In those ten years, I’ve probably seen every definition of assent, acquiescence and consent that exists in the English language, right, wrong, and in between.
And I’ve recognized that society has a knee jerk reaction to considering non-violent sexual assaults as “rape.” I’ve learned not to split hairs over semantics; particularly because sexual assaults that are non-violent should be considered a lesser offense than violent sexual assaults. But all sexual assaults, whether violent or non-violent, should be covered by penal code because every victim who is sexually assaulted is defiled, whether or not violence was used against them.
Except for the misunderstandings that lump assent, consent, and acquiescence all together as synonyms – which they’re not – you’ll see that assent is a superficial type of agreement. Anyone who nods their head and says “yes” is assenting.
In 1946, an American military tribunal conducted military, criminal proceedings against 23 German medical professionals for their crimes against the human race. They had cooperated in or conducted ghoulish experiments using live humans during World War II. The Nuremberg trials, as they were known, gave voice to Nuremberg Code which guides medical experiments throughout the US. Nuremberg Code identifies that even a child, who has not yet reached the age of reason, can assent. Simply saying “yes” is assenting,
Nuremberg Code also tells us that saying yes when you have all the facts, are capable of reason, and are not being pressured, is “consenting.” Nuremberg Code requires the subject of a medical experiment to “consent.” If that subject is a child, their agreement could only be considered as “assent.” In order to conduct such an experiment, the child would have to sign an “assent” form. The parent or legal guardian would sign a “consent” form.
When a person acquiesces, they are assenting. But not everyone who assents is acquiescing. They could be agreeing but not because of fear. Acquiescence is agreement under duress, (fear/pressure.) You could also say that acquiescing is assenting under duress. But as Nuremberg Code points out, a person who consents must do so of their own free will. So a person who is pressured by fear to assent is not consenting. They are acquiescing.
In legal discussion regarding contracts, your assent can be nullified if the basic facts by which you assented were misrepresented (fraud). Although you agreed on the face of the information you were given, your assent is vitiated. Since you were not knowledgeable and informed, although you assented, you did not consent.
Why are these differences important?
We need for society to understand the difference between various types of agreement in crystal clear, simple terms. Our law makers are clear that we need “consent” to engage in sex. But they are clear as mud, and frequently incorrect, about what consent actually is.
In practice, from coast to coast, what is not expressly prohibited under the law is permissible: therefore, until we express that “nonconsensual sex is sexual assault, and consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement” in our laws, all instances in which a specific defiling act takes place without a specific penal code prohibition, that conduct cannot be prosecuted.
Several states say your “words and overt actions” are consent. Nope, if your words and overt actions result from force, duress, or deception, they are absolutely not consent. “No” means no, but “yes” only means yes when it’s not induced by force, duress, or deception. Only in rare cases do our laws uphold this principle.
As I’ve struggled with the process of motivating legislators to deal with this issue, I’ve seen that their interest in ignoring deception is deliberate. It’s far too consistent to be otherwise. Model Penal Code’s description, “Consent is ineffective if induced by force, duress or deception,” is too widely known for the omission of deception to be seen as simply an oversight or not relevant.
Our law makers have been truly callous to the harm a person suffers when they are tricked into sex, and they envision that these cases will “clog up our courts.” The fact that the victim’s self determination over their reproductive organs has been violated is irrelevant to them. The end result; however, is that their failure to identify what consent really means feeds the rape mentality that harms sexual assault victims all across the spectrum.
What can be done about it?
#MeToo and #TimesUp have identified that sexual assault is rampant, but even their efforts fail to reach to the core of the problem. Correctly defining consent in our laws would guide behavior and hold sexual predators, who prey on people for sexual contact in a myriad of ways, accountable.
Very few states correctly identify the relationship between assent and consent. Missouri is one of them. Missouri. 556.061 (14) states: “Assent does not constitute consent if (c.) It is induced by force, duress or deception.”
Why not? Because consent is freely given (not forced or coerced (duress)), knowledgeable and informed (not deceived) agreement. #FGKIA!
Yet when it came to prosecuting Mario Antoine, who tricked over 30 victims into sex, the SVU Prosecutor in Kansas City MO, Jill Icenhower, failed to prosecute.
Here’s Nuremberg Code:
“The person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge as to enable him (or her) to make an understanding and enlightened decision.”
The solution for holding all sexual assault offenders accountable is for our laws to recognize that all –
Nonconsensual sex is sexual assault – and
Consent is Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement – #FGKIA!
This isn’t rocket science. It’s just plain common sense! Call your legislator and demand that they enact this new, consent-based language to prohibit all forms of sexual assault into the laws of your state, today!
Help to adopt appropriate laws to conquer sexual assault today! Read Your Consent and send it to your legislators.
HB 1584, the bill to address a gaping, rape loophole in Indiana’s laws – the one that failed to convict Donald Grant Ward of sexual assault – will not see the light of day in the 2019 legislative session.
Grant Ward, as his friends call him, climbed into the upper bunk where a female student was fast asleep in her boyfriend’s dark, dorm room at Purdue University. She awakened because she felt her breast being touched, and then… he sexually penetrated her.
Ward knew he was tricking her into thinking he was her boyfriend. He admitted so to the police. He was arrested for rape, He was acquitted on the basis that his conduct was not a crime in Indiana’s laws. To add insult to the already egregious injury he and the jury’s decision caused the victim, the judge expunged his criminal record.
Ward’s attorney, Kirk Freeman, exploited the weakness in Indiana’s laws by defending his client’s conduct and by preening about his behavior; referring to him as “my boy” like a proud papa. His attitude exemplifies the patriarchy that perpetuates rape mentality and continues, unabated, in Indiana.
Indiana’s laws say nothing about the type of sexual assault Ward conducted. Nor do they say anything about the definition of consent. This failure could have, and should have, been corrected in this legislative session. It won’t be. How many additional victims must be raped before Indiana’s legislators see the light?
What does this legislative failure say about safety in Indiana’s colleges and universities?
Personally, if I had a daughter, the very last place I’d send her off to school right now would be Indiana. While Purdue, Notre Dame, and Indiana State enjoy high rankings in educational excellence, I’d be horrified that the Indiana legislature showed gross disregard toward protecting my child, and concerned she could suffer a similar fate…….. with absolutely no accountability or justice. (And BTW- rape can happen to our sons as well as our daughters.) Given a choice, I’d be looking at universities in states where my child would be protected by appropriate laws.
As if this incident at Purdue were not enough to convince me to educate my child elsewhere, Purdue is currently being sued for expelling two students for reporting sexual assaults.
Some other states to consider
The Hon. Mandy Powers Norrell, South Carolina State Representative, is currently undertaking to protect the residents of her state from Ward’s behavior and further incidents of sexual assault. Her bill, H 3829, is pending in her state.
Alabama and Tennessee have existing laws that make Ward’s behavior a crime. Both laws are identified in my most recent book, Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault, which shows the consent provisions from coast to coast, explains why rape by fraud is a crime, and clearly defines how “consent” should be expressed in each and every state across the US and around the world.
What your raped daughter or son could face – for the rest of their lives
No matter what form of rape a person is subjected to, rape never leaves their psyche. Rape invades the most private part of a victim’s being and pollutes even the most remote corner of their mind. It takes a great deal of effort and therapy to learn to compartmentalize defilement into a part of one’s brain where it no longer interferes with daily functioning. Even once a survivor makes peace with what happened, they can be plagued with recurring suicidal ideation, depression and interpersonal dysfunction for life.
As a rape survivor, I, and millions of other survivors, have good reason to feel re-victimized by the oversight of Indiana’s legislators. While Donald Ward’s conduct harmed one victim, the legislative decision to ignore HB1584 failed millions of present, past, and future rape victims. Failure to pass this important bill lets the copy-cat out of the bag because it tells sexual predators that there are no consequences for conducting the heinous defilement of rape by fraud or impersonation in Indiana.
Society and our lawmakers must be clear on what consent really means in order to conquer sexual assault! Please register for this booklet today! Together we can fight sexual assault and make the world a safer place!
Every nickel from the proceeds of this book’s sales will be used to fight for sexual assault laws!
Suffering through sexual degradation impacts victims at their core. Their overwhelming sense of having been polluted is ever present, long after their ongoing contact with the offender stops. Escaping the grasp of a predator can be a horrific struggle. Even once achieved, an indelible suffering permeates one’s body and mind long into the future. Continue reading What’s the proper penalty for rape by fraud?→
Today, January 17, 2019, marks a day I’ve long awaited! The very first meaningful rape by fraud/deception/impersonation bill was introduced to Indiana’s House of Representatives this morning. HB 1584 was identified in a condensed reading by House Speaker Brian C. Bosna. It was authored by Rep. Donna Schaibley and supported by former Indiana State Representative, Sally Siegrist. Continue reading Indiana Launches Effort to Criminalize Rape by Deception!→
Interested in helping to fight sexual assault by fraud or deception, case by defiling case?
Survivors of sexual assault by fraud have an almost impossible obstacle to hurdle in order to recover. Our justice system fails to prosecute, even in states with specific rape by fraud laws like Missouri where “Assent is not consent when induced by force, duress or deception,” – second degree rape. We need to identify legal help for the countless victims who have suffered this heartless deceit, whether through a civil or criminal action!
If you have the skills and interest to put these cases on the judicial map and lay a foundation for justice for so many, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please identify “I’m a lawyer in ……..” naming your state in your subject line.
Tonight’s broadcast of Nightline, (12:35 AM, Tuesday morning on ABC) is scheduled to cover the new bill that is soon to be submitted in Indiana on Rape by Impersonation. It features Joyce Short, Sally Siegrist, the State Representative who championed the legislative change, and Abigail Finney, the victim in the Donald Grant Ward case that Ms. Short discusses in her TEDx Talk,When YES Means NO – The Truth About Consent.
Barring that no major news event prevents this episode from airing, you can live tweet Ms. Short @jm_short using hashtag #FGKIA for Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, the meaning of CONSENT!
NYAToday Media – News for Young Advocates Today – has teamed up with ConsentAwareness.net to make #FGKIA, the meaning of CONSENT, crystal clear to the younger generation. Growing a generation of “consent savvy” kids is crucial for conquering sexual assault in our future! This kid-friendly “ConsenUal Campaign” speaks volumes in a colorful, entertaining format that’s perfect for young minds, and their families.
The information is available in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French, with more to come.
Manchester, UK- Looks pretty innocuous, right? But this convicted sexual predator is guilty of assaulting two women through an elaborate scam. In one case he violently forced her. In another, he used a blindfold to trick her. His means of contact? Plenty of Fish which ranks highest on my list of e-dating sites for sex crime offenders.
Devereux’s hoax combined aspects of other convicted scammers, Mario Antoine in the US and Gayle Newland in the UK . Note to Devereux… not a good idea to copycat people who got caught!
Devereux hooked his targets by assuming the name “Dean,” posting an attractive profile, and grooming them to desire him over several months. Then he proceeded to convince them to have sex with his terminally ill friend “Rob” before meeting him. He also threatened to post intimate photos of one of the women on the internet.
Sexual Offense Prosecutor, Martin McRobb, explained Devereux’s method:
“Devereux worked on the emotions of these women over a long period of time, enticing them with a persuasive but utterly fake persona until they were desperate to meet him.”
“The decision making on this case was complex as on the face of it the women had consented to have sexual relations.” But, “this was not true consent as in the case of one victim she would not have submitted to sexual activity had she not been the victim of blackmail.”
McRobb’s understanding is on target in most aspects, but his terminology is flawed. He should watch my TEDxTalk! If we could straighten out society’s understanding, and enact the actual meaning of consent in our laws, his error would be visible to both McRobb and society.
“As on the face of it, the women had consented” is an oxymoron. Consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement. “Agreement on the face of it,” is “assent,” not “consent.” They are both forms of agreement. But consent, not assent, is required for sex.
McRobb should have stated: “On the face of it, the women had agreed, but agreeing on the face of it is assent, not consent. Consent is required in sexual conduct. The victim did not consent.”
In the instance where a victim was threatened, such as by threatening to disclose intimate photos, that victim would be “acquiescing,” agreeing under duress. Agreeing under duress is not “freely giving agreement,” therefore, it is not consent.
Kudos to Prosecutor McRobb for successfully locking up a sexual predator. He was absolutely correct when he said:
“The effects upon Devereux’s victims are life-long and catastrophic. Their self-confidence and desire to find a meaningful relationship may never return.”
People who scoff at or fail to recognize the grotesque exploitation of rape by fraud have a great deal to learn about defilement. Yesterday, I was told that a recent rape by fraud survivor had approached the Ft. Worth, TX, Women’s Rape Crisis Center, and was turned away.
The victim, Dina, who was searching for healing and validation, had been horribly defiled. Not only had the offender lied his head off about anything and everything, he actually produced a forged divorce decree to prove he was single. He repeatedly engaged Dina in sex for several months…I’m sure you know how this ended!
David Mack deserves an award for his outstanding article on Rape by Fraud in today’s BuzzFeed!
In The Wrong Man, he captures the horrific sexual deception committed by Purdue University student, Donald “Grant” Ward, explains the suffering of his victim, Abigail Finney, and enlightens us about the legal confusion that mires the understanding of society, legislators and law enforcement alike over sexual assault. Continue reading BuzzFeed Zooms-In on Rape by Fraud!→
In a move that underscores the indecent state of immorality in Indiana’s sex crime laws, rape charges against Donald Ward were recently expunged from his criminal record. This revision underscores how desperately every resident of Indiana, and certainly every student attending college there, needs Indiana’s laws to change! Continue reading “IN” state laws support “IN”decency!!→
Jamaican law is far superior to US law when it comes to recognizing the horror of rape by fraud! Read this important article, written by Orville Taylor and published today in The Gleanerin Kingston Jamaica. Pay close attention to this statement:
“Indeed, capacity is also affected by knowledge so that if someone pretends to be someone else and gets to engage in intimate contact with the ‘victim’ by fraud, it is assault and rape if it goes far enough. Believe it: If a woman masquerades as a man, and, based on deception, gets into sexual activities with a heterosexual woman, it is also assault.”
There is simply no excuse for our US laws to disregard the heinous assault on the victim in cases where a sexual predator’s weapon of choice is trickery!
If our laws were clear that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, accountability would exist for all types of sex crimes, not simply the specific mentions our law makers call “sexual assault” or “rape,” while completely ignoring all the rest!
None of the states or territories of the US properly define “consent” in their laws. 76% of the states and territories of the US have NO provisions for consent in their penal code. 24% have provisions that poorly define consent and only make prosecution possible in a small amount of cases. Here are the three largest obstructions that keep lawmakers from adopting correct consent laws, right out of their own mouths: Continue reading 3 Roadblocks that Prevent Prosecution for Sexual Assault→