In case you need another backwards law to make you never want to visit North Carolina, here ya go. Apparently in 1979, the Supreme Court case State v. Way ruled that women do not have the right to withdraw from sex after they've consented.
A 19-year-old woman discovered this first-hand when she was told her attacker didn’t break the law when he continued to have sex with her even after she said no. Aaliyah Palmer consented to have sex with him at a party, but after he started getting violent and pulling her hair, she asked him to stop.
“I said, ‘You’re hurting me. Stop,’” she told The Fayetteville Observer. “It’s really stupid. If I tell you no and you kept going, that’s rape.”
Sen. Jeff Jackson agrees. He represents Mecklenburg County and says multiple women have approached him about how the law has impacted them because of a “crazy loophole.”
“North Carolina is the only state in U.S. where no doesn’t mean no,” he told The Observer. “There’s no reason for this to be partisan. It’s about doing what’s obviously right.”
What’s perhaps most shocking about the law is that it's unapologetically gendered against women. It specifically states women cannot revoke consent after sexual intercourse begins, which means the same is not true for men.
In 1985, State v. Robinson cited the '79 case as precedent, stating, “We of course agree with the North Carolina court that a mere change of the woman's mind in the midst of sexual intercourse does not turn the man's subsequent participation into rape.”
This law has prevented women from seeking justice for decades, and it will continue to do so until it’s changed. Many of these cases depict situations in which consensual sex turns violent, but even then women legally aren’t allowed to back out.
Everyone has the right to change their mind about sex at any point, no matter what. And sex without consent is rape. Period.
This law just reiterates to every woman in North Carolina that men’s desires take precedent over everything, including her own body.
Photo via James Walsh, Flickr
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Brianna is a BUST editorial intern from Indiana. After finishing her bachelor's in telecommunication news and journalism from Ball State University, she went to Syracuse for her master's in arts journalism. She likes writing about movies, performance art and advocacy. You can follow her on Twitter @BriKirk, and reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.