Thursday, November 27, 2014

Just a matter of time until someone upped the ante

In case you thought affirmative consent was the end of watering down the definition of rape, a New Jersey lawmaker has submitted a bill that would count sex as rape if one partner lied to the other one to get them in bed.

Please note this is a single bill submitted by a single state representative in New Jersey. There is no reason to assume it has support from any group, and even unthinking feminist reactionaries like Amanda Marcotte have spoken against it.

However, I still have a feeling this will come up again and it needs to be addressed. Over at his Simple Justice blog, Scott H. Greenfield discusses the problematic nature of this approach:

Consider the potential universe of actionable lies that would invalidate consent, and give rise to rape: 
I love you. 
Push-up bras. 
I work for the CIA. 
Your eyes are like pearls gleaming in the moonlight. 
I’m on the pill. 
I was checked for STDs and I’m clean. 
Well, you get the idea. Our world is replete with lies, some small and some not so small. Would the potential for absurdity be salvaged by the maxim, de minimis non curat lex? Care to bet your freedom on what some prosecutor or judge thinks is de minimis? But the exercise of prosecutorial discretion will spare us from such ridiculous extremes? Experience has proven otherwise. Worse still, experience has proven that laws open to abuse will be deliberately used to get a person the government believes “needs getting,” and a law like this is ripe for abuse.

From my own experience, I had an ex inform me (but to my knowledge she never went to the police) that I was a rapist because I went to bed with her two weeks before I broke up with her and failed to inform her that I had my doubts about the future of the relationship.

Just as my issue with consent in general, the law takes a real issue - scumbag liars who trick people into having sex with them - and responds by nuking the planet from orbit. Something can be wrong, shameful and immoral without being illegal as well.

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