North Carolina Law Says Women Can’t Revoke Consent Once Sex Begins

Sen. Jeff Jackson is taking steps toward changing a 1979 state law that determines consent cannot be withdrawn after sexual intercourse starts.

According to a decades-old North Carolina law, women cannot revoke their consent after sexual intercourse has begun.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson is leading the charge on changing the 1979 Supreme Court ruling which states that it cannot be considered rape if a woman consents to sex initially, but later withdraws that consent once the act is in progress, HuffPost reports.

“North Carolina is the only state in the U.S. where no doesn’t mean no,” Jackson reportedly told The Fayetteville Observer this week.

Jackson is the sponsor of Senate Bill 553, which states that a person who “continues to engage in intercourse after consent is withdrawn” can be charged with rape. However, Jackson’s bill applies specifically to vaginal intercourse.

The law stems from a 1977 case involving a woman named Beverly Hester who was sexually assaulted on a date. She willingly went into a bedroom alone with her date, but claimed she was later forced to have sex with him despite the fact that she “begged him not to.”

“If the actual penetration is accomplished with the woman’s consent, the accused is not guilty of rape, although he may be guilty of another crime because of his subsequent actions,” the state’s Supreme Court determined at the time, according to a 2004 report in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 

Flash forward to this year, Amy Guy has now become another victim who will not receive justice thanks to this flawed law.

Guy’s estranged husband, Jonathan Guy, popped up at her apartment intoxicated and demanding sex. Although she initially agreed, she withdrew her consent once it became a violent and unpleasant experience. However, her husband ignored her pleas for him to stop.

He was first charged with second-degree rape, but had his charges reduced to misdemeanor assault of a female because of that same 1970s law.

“I was devastated. I didn’t understand how that could be because I knew I had been raped,” Guy told local reporters. ”I don’t understand how the law can say that I wasn’t.”

Although North Carolina is the only U.S. state that specifically declares consent can’t be revoked after intercourse has begun, HuffPost notes that many states throughout the nation have a foggy view of these scenarios.

There are only eight states — which include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota — that “affirmatively recognize that consent can be withdrawn at any time during intercourse.” 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Women's eNews

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