Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Is “Sex by Surprise” Illegal in the United States?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 7, 2010


How would the alleged Swedish sex crimes of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fare in an American court?

By Jessica Grose

Julian Assange’s lawyer told AOL News on Thursday that the WikiLeaks founder has beencharged with “sex by surprise”

Julian Assange

in Sweden. Though the lawyer says he doesn’t know what “sex by surprise” means, the Swedish prosecution office announced that they are charging Assange with “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.” These charges allegedly stem from consensual sexual encounters with two separate women that became nonconsensual at some point during the act. (Update, Dec. 7, 2010: Julian Assangewas arrested in Britain by an extradition unit on Swedish charges of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation, and rape.) If this had happened in the United States, could Assange have been charged with a crime?

Possibly. The traditional common-law rule is that there needs to be both lack of consent and the threat of physical force in order for a sexual violation to constitute rape. By that standard, Assange might be in the clear if his alleged activities took place in the United States (and if no violence was involved). But in some states, lack of consent can by itself serve as the basis for a rape charge. The exact circumstances under which a woman might revoke her consent varies: In Illinois, for example, it is considered rape if a woman says “no” at any time during sex and her partner does not stop. Other states are vague on the question of whether someone can change her mind after penetration has occurred. And some courts have been very clear that consent is locked in once intercourse has begun.

There used to be even more requirements for a woman to bring rape charges. Until the legal reform movement that began in the 1970s, a prosecutor would take on a case only if the woman could corroborate that the rape had occurred—her own testimony was insufficient without a third-party witness or evidence of serious injury. That requirement has been dropped from most state rape laws. Feminist reformers also tried to do away with the idea that rape must include at least the threat of physical force, but with less success. The so-called “resistance requirement”—as in, the woman must try to resist the attack—has remained on the books in most states, albeit in a watered-down form. For example, a woman no longer has to prove that she fought back to the best of her ability—she only needs to prove that she did enough to let her partner know she did not want sex.

Explainer thanks University of Colorado law professor Aya Gruber.

@Slate

 

 

 

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Is “Sex by Surprise” Illegal in the United States?”

  1. […] Is “Sex by Surprise” Illegal in the United States? « Nepal – the … […]

  2. […] Is “Sex by Surprise” Illegal in the United States? « Nepal – the country of … A Remarkable Book from Wiley-Finance […]

  3. Great site you have here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours these
    days. I really appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: