Sunday, March 31, 2013

What Is Rape?

The topic of rape has really been in the news a lot as of late. Especially, given the recent case in Ohio with the two teen-aged boys who were convicted for raping a girl at a party. There are so many variations of rape and I don't think that a lot of people understand that.

Most think that rape is when a man hides in the bushes, jumps out, clubs a woman over the head and forcibly takes her.  Or maybe some creep puts something in a drink that renders a woman unconscious.  Those are definitely two examples of rape and should be punishable to the fullest extend of the law.

But, rape can come in a lot of forms.  However, with the other forms of rape, should there be a different approach to how they're tried in the court of law?

Date rape

Date rape is normally a he said, she said sort of deal.  A guy goes out with a woman and at some point they have sex.  The next morning, she calls the cops and he gets picked up for rape.  My question is: without physical evidence of forced sex, should it be that easy for a man to go to jail?

Now, I'm not saying that date rape doesn't occur because we all know that it does.  I'm just asking if a man should go to jail on a he said, she said argument?  Rape is difficult to prove, but if all it takes is a crying plaintiff and a sympathetic jury, then a lot of innocent men, who pissed a woman off, will land in jail.  It's safe to say that more innocent people are probably in jail for being falsely accused of rape than any other crime in the world.  Shouldn't we require more proof before potentially getting it wrong?  And why put the woman through a defense lawyer painting her as a whore if the only evidence is a her word against his?

Alcohol-influenced rape

This is going to upset some people, but some things just need to be said.  In the case of the Ohio teens who went to jail for raping a girl at a party, in some cases like this, does the victim actually have some culpability in the matter?  I know that's going to rub people the wrong way, but listen to why I ask the question:

If a woman gets drunk in a room filled with men, then she's definitely not asking to be raped.  I'm not saying that.  It's not smart, but it's still not an invitation to rape.  However, if the person is under-aged and the alleged assailants are as well, then isn't there some culpability there?  It doesn't make rape right, but should something similar to the "clean hands rule" apply?

An example of the "clean hands rule" is a drug dealer who takes someone to court for stealing his drug money.  If you come into court with "unclean hands," from an illegal act, then you can't reap the benefits of justice.

So, with that being said, if a minor gets drunk, then shouldn't they have some responsibility to bear if they fall prey to having naked photos taken and sexual contact by other minors?  I stress the word "some."  Wouldn't the illegal drinking be considered having unclean hands?

What if a woman and a man get drunk together and have sex, can he be charged with rape?  If she's in no condition to consent to sex, is he in a condition to adhere to the non-consent since he's drunk, too?  Since he is also drunk, would he also have a claim to being raped?

These are things that I think our courts should address.  More needs to be done to prevent a guy from going to jail because a woman is pissed at him, scared of what her parents/friends may think or because they got high together, had sex and she woke up with regret.

We'll be discussing this very topic on April 7th.  I'll be presenting these questions to callers and chat room participants to find the best suggested remedy for the courts.

You can join me live on the show at 10 PM EST in the chat room or listen to the podcast if you happen to miss the live airing.  I know that I may have missed an important detail or two, so come on and give your opinion on the matter.

How can we define what is rape?

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