Welcome to 2013, where rape is acceptable and women have nearly zero reproductive rights.
OK, that may not be entirely true, but in a society where women are told that being sexually assaulted is their fault and are denied the choice of terminating a pregnancy if a rape results in that, something is clearly wrong.
But the shocking truth is that there are laws and measures passing through our courts that make it both difficult to apprehend an assailant and that blame the victim for being assaulted.
Here are a few that are absolutely true…and absolute bullshit.
Virginia’s “All Rape Victims Are Liars” Law:
In short, if you are raped in Norfolk, police classify your sexual assault as “unfounded,” or not valid, by default. You might even be given a speech on how lying about your assault is a felony. So basically, this puts the rape victim on trial before the assailant is reprimanded. Read about it here.
New York’s “Rape Isn’t Rape” Law:
As recently as this summer, rape was not considered rape in New York. In fact, it was simply “sexual assault.” Current law states that rape is only rape when the vagina is penetrated – but not when an assailant is forcing him or herself on a victim orally or anally. At the moment, three categories exist: rape, anal rape, and oral rape. Sexual assault is the umbrella term used to define all other kinds of penetration and unwanted contact. Read about it here.
California’s “It’s Not Rape If You’re Not Married” Law:
There was an 1872 law that was reviewed for amendment in California just this year that resulted in the release of a man who impersonated a woman’s boyfriend and raped her while she was sleep. Because he did not impersonate her “husband” and because she was not technically married, he was let off the hook. The law was finally overturned in September. Read the bizarre story here.
Michigan’s “Rape Insurance” Law:
Here’s an interesting one. On Dec. 11, 2013, lawmakers in Michigan passed a measure that will ban all insurance plans in the state from covering abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger. That means a few things, but mainly that women seeking abortions after being assaulted need to have already purchased a separate abortion rider if they would like the procedure covered — which basically blames women for not thinking ahead of time by planning to be raped. Who said rape tolerance doesn’t exist? Read about it here.
New Mexico’s “Abortions Tamper With Evidence After Rape” Measure:
This one isn’t actually law yet, but it is a bill brought forth by Rep. Cathrynn Brown that requires rape victims to carry their pregnancies full term. If not, the rape victim would be charged with a third-degree felony for tampering with evidence. “Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime,” the bill says. And because tampering with evidence is a third-degree felony, the rape victim could spend a minimum of three years in jail if she chooses to terminate the pregnancy. Read about it here.
Illinois’ “Doesn’t Matter” Law:
Simply put, if sex starts off as consensual and ends up as an assault, the victim cannot bring charges against the assailant. The 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling in State v. Way that says that if intercourse begins consensually, “no rape has occurred though the victim later withdraws consent during the same act of intercourse.” Read about it here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty