Time Magazine on Rape and Consent

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Recently the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in a rape case addressing the legal issue of whether consent could be withdrawn after penetration, that no, it probably couldn’t be. The written opinion in the case, Maouloud Baby v. State of Maryland, is accessible here. Time Magazine recently featured coverage of the issue that is available here in full text. Below is an excerpt from this article:

If a woman consents to having sex with a man but then during intercourse says no, and the man continues, is it rape?

The answer depends on where you live. The highest courts of seven states, including Connecticut and Kansas, have ruled that a woman may withdraw her consent at any time, and if the man doesn’t stop, he is committing rape. Illinois has become the first state to pass legislation giving a woman that right to change her mind. But in Maryland–as well as in North Carolina–when a woman says yes, she can’t take it back once sex has begun–or, at least, she can’t call the act rape.

That was the recent ruling by Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals in a case that may soon make its way to the state’s highest court and that has captured the attention of feminists and legal experts across the country. Advocates for victims’ rights insist it’s not just a matter of allowing a woman to have a change of heart. If the law doesn’t recognize a woman’s right to say no during sex, they say, there is no recourse for a woman who begins to feel pain or who learns her partner isn’t wearing a condom or has HIV. Those who are wary of these measures say they’re not arguing against having a man stop immediately when a woman no longer wants to have sex, but with how to define immediately. …

Via Caitlin E. Borgmann, author of the excellent Reproductive Rights Prof Blog.

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