Rape has been in the headlines a lot lately. The death of gang-rape victim in New Delhi has sparked a global outcry asking for India to address the rising issue of violence against women. Then internet hacking group Anonymous posted a video of students in Steubenville joking about the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two of the school’s football stars. Rape culture appears not to be limited by country borders. It’s widespread.
It’s mind-boggling that the idea of slut-shaming is something so ingrained in our society. For the latest example of how backwards our society is when it comes to sex crimes against women, I take you to Los Angeles; where a state appeals court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was not married. According to some antiquated law in California, if a victim is tricked into having sex with someone that is impersonating their partner, it is only considered rape if the victim is married.
What happened in this case, is that the woman’s boyfriend left her house late at night, then another man came into the house and started having sex with her. When the woman became conscious enough to realize it wasn’t her boyfriend she tried to stop the rapist. There’s an old California law stating that tricking someone into having sex with you by impersonation is only rape if the person is married, this archaic law appears to have trumped the more commonly known law that if someone is unconscious and you have sex with them then it is rape. The judges of the case were actually pretty pissed because, although they knew the rapist was guilty, it is their duty to follow the law.
According to The Associated Press:
“In its ruling, California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal reluctantly concluded that Julio Morales hadn’t raped an 18-year-old because a state law crafted in the 1870s says a person who gets consent for sex by pretending to be someone else is only guilty of rape if the victim is married and the perpetrator is pretending to be the spouse. In this case, Morales apparently pretended to be the teen’s boyfriend, and she didn’t recognize otherwise until seeing him in the light.
The court urged the Legislature to update the law, and state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, said Friday that he would introduce a bill.”
Kudos (sarcasm) to the lawyer that found that legal loophole. Let’s hope the case goes further and this rapist is actually punished.