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Maryland legalises some forms of rape.

A Maryland court has ruled a woman can't withdraw her consent to sex after initial penetration has occured.
In other words, once sex starts, you forfeit control over your own body. Changed your mind? Too bad. Feel coerced? Tough shit. Even if you say "stop," or "no," or "that hurts"—even if you yell and struggle and beg—your partner can do whatever he wants, as long as it's already in. His right to come trumps your right to control your own body (by "withdrawing consent" to sex) every time.

The complainant, an 18-year-old-girl, told the court that the defendent "got on top of me and he tried to put it in and it hurt. So I said stop and that's when he kept
pushing it in and I was pushing his knees to get off me."

Pretty clear-cut, right?

Here's how the court responded: "Under Maryland law, the answer is "no" to the question, "If a female consents to sex initially and, during the course of the sex act to which she consented, for whatever reason, she changes her mind and the ... man continues until climax, does the result constitute rape?"
it's the 1800's 31.Oct.2006 21:01

filha da todas as maes

women are still slaves. there is no such thing as a 2nd class citizen. slaves do not have legal rights over their own bodies. neither do we.

Anyone Else? 31.Oct.2006 21:31

Working Class Mama

Anyone else feel like the world is getting MORE hostile to women lately? Am I just imagining things?

I agree 31.Oct.2006 21:50

everybody's mama

Don't ever think you are imagining things... that's exactly what they want. Things are so so bad for women in this country - does anyone have any ideas on how we can protest this grotesque ruling? Women do the most important work in the world, we give up a huge part our lives in free labor to the empire, and what do we get for it?! - not even a 'thank you'. More like a big 'fuck you'.


Wait 01.Nov.2006 01:35


This article has no citations or references. I have no idea what the author is talking about or what context it is. So before we leap on the story, can we get a little bit more?

If you want more info 01.Nov.2006 08:29


Do an internet search on "Maryland" and "rape".

Took me about 30 seconds to find this article.

I bet you could find a better one if you added more search terms.

Court Ruling Could Define Rape Laws in Md.

(AP) An appellate court says Maryland's rape law is clear, "no" does not mean "no" when it follows a "yes" and intercourse has begun.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals threw out a rape conviction Monday, saying that a trial judge in Montgomery County erred when he refused to answer the jury's question on that very point.

The appeals court says that when the jury asked the trial judge if a woman could withdraw her consent after the start of sex, the jury should have been told she could not. The ruling says the law is not ambiguous and is a tenet of common law.

The decision startled activists who believe people have the right to say "no" at any time. Jennifer Pollitt Hill of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault called the law "insulting and dangerous."

Montgomery Delegate Jean Cryor says the Women's Caucus of the General Assembly would likely examine the decision during the next legislative session.

Non MSM source 01.Nov.2006 08:46


"No" means nothing once sex has started

Thanks, I guess, to Jessica at Feministing for bringing this scary piece of news to our attention: A Maryland appellate court yesterday ruled that the state's rape law is clear on the fact that no doesn't mean no if it comes in the midst of consensual sex.

The three-judge panel yesterday tossed out a rape conviction on the grounds that when the jury on the case asked the judge to clarify whether a woman could legally withdraw her consent after the start of sex, the judge should have informed them that she could not. According to this panel, Maryland law is not ambiguous on this point.

Consider for a moment what this means: that once intercourse has started, a woman has no legal right to stop it. Not if it hurts, not if it feels wrong, not if something starts going badly. As soon as you say yes and begin the act, your freedom and ability to make and act on your own decisions simply evaporate.

And there are so many other questions. If this "she didn't say no until after we started" defense actually holds water, then what, precisely, constitutes saying "no"? What if the tenor of the encounter changes as soon as you say "yes"? Does that count as consensual? What if there is a hand over your mouth when sex begins? Is the sex consensual if you're unconscious, or have been drugged and wake up or come out of it in the middle of the act?

It's scary, it's crazy, it's wrong. And this sucks, but if this is what it comes down to, then ladies, check your state laws. And think not just twice but three and four and five times before you agree to shag someone. It shouldn't have to be this way. But apparently, at least in Maryland, it is.

-- Rebecca Traister

action required 02.Nov.2006 08:36


does anyone have any idea of who to write/call in protest of this HORRENDOUS ruling??
women and men EVERYWHERE need to stand in solidarity with this girl AGAINST this (once again) patriarchal ruling.

More Info 02.Nov.2006 09:18

christineh chaboush@riseup.net

I just got off the phone with Jennifer Pollitt Hill from the Maryland Coalition Against Sex Assault.
She said that they are organizing right now, and will call me as soon as they have laid out the concrete steps they'd like people to take.
They have spoken with the Secretary General of MD, who plans on appealing the specific ruling that just happened, but legislature still has to change. The next state legislation meeting happens in January of 2007, so before then they will need our help.

In the meantime, you can write or call Delegate Jean Cryor: (410) 841-3090, (301) 858-3090, or (800) 492-7122 x3090. Her address is Jean Cryor, Lowe House Office Bldg, Rm 226, 84 College Ave., Annapolis, MD, 21401-1991, and her email is  jean.cryor@house.state.md.us.

The good news is that Jennifer told me she's been getting phone calls from as far away as Puerto Rico! Yay communication!

I will post here as soon as I hear back from Jennifer.

it's a man's world 02.Nov.2006 15:31


Does anyone still doubt that it's a man's world?
What happens to women anywhere affects us EVERYWHERE!!!

This is all we talk about in this country when it comes to women - abortion and rape. Have we forgotten that it is women's free labor - as mothers, wives, home-makers, that keeps the capitalist machine alive?
What it we were to stop? The country could not live one day without us.
Our labor is gold! Women are the sheros that bring life into the world.
Think about the International Women's Stike, which is an actual movement
in other parts of the world.
We need it badly here.

Anyone have the docket number? A copy of the opinion? 02.Nov.2006 22:16


I would be curious to read the entire text of this seemingly disgusting judicial opinion. Anyone got the citation for this case? Thx.

citation for case 02.Nov.2006 22:37


i'm sure if you email jennifer pollitt hill she can direct you to the court transcripts-if they are public-since she's organizing the main response in MD.

That is not what the Court said 15.Nov.2006 11:00


The Court merely said that if consent is withdrawn midway through, the parter must be given a "reasonable" amount of time to comply. It doesn't mean that it must happen instanteneously, and it also doesn't mean that he can go on for as long as he wants. What is "reasonable" under the circumstances is for the jury to decide.

You should actually read the court opinion, not a story describing the opinion 15.Nov.2006 11:31


In the Baby case, the MD Court of Special Appeals (intermediate court) did not hold that a man "may continue until climax," as some have stated, but rather that not every penetration after consent is withdrawn is rape. The 1980 case that the Court relied upon in reaching this conclusion held that it is not necessarily rape when it takes a man five seconds to withdraw. What the Baby case actually held was that the trial judge was remiss in not answering a jury question and instructing them that, according to MD law, once a woman revokes consent, while a man must indeed stop, he has a reasonable time to do so (it being understood that it may take a few seconds for the man to comprehend his partner's instructions). The circumstances and the reasonableness are, of course, quintessential jury issues of fact.

Consider the alternative. If the partner (not necessarily a woman) says "no" and withdrawal is not immediate, it is rape, even in the absence of intent. This is why there is a strong argument to be made that "reasonableness," under the circumstances, should be left to the jury without an absolute either way.

In this regard, it appears as if the question that the MD Court was faced with was a much closer one than has presented.