In North Carolina, USA, a law states that if someone has said ‘yes’ to sex, he or she cannot change their mind – even if it should become painful or turn violent. The Guardian reports that this is due to a 1979 state supreme court ruling that has never been overturned. Continuing to have sex after a sexual partner says ‘no’ should constitute rape.
However, in North Carolina, you cannot take back sexual consent after you’ve given it: this loophole is caused by a complete misunderstanding of consent. While this is steeped in misogyny and enables rape culture, it appears that a similar law existed in Maryland until 2008.
The result of this is that numerous women in North Carolina have been unable to prosecute their rapists. Renewed attention to this law comes after a 19-year-old woman recently experienced such a case. She has since gone public after being denied access to justice due to this outdated law. She initially consented to having sex with her alleged attacker at a party, but told him to stop after he started becoming violent. He didn’t.
It should not be debatable that, after consent is withdrawn, the sex becomes non-consensual and is therefore rape. It’s shocking that this law exists as it does in North Carolina.