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Court Requires Disabled Rape Victim To Prove She Resisted, Calls For Evidence Of ‘Biting, Kicking, Scratching’

Court Requires Disabled Rape Victim To Prove She Resisted, Calls For Evidence Of ‘Biting, Kicking, Scratching’

Written by Zack Beauchamp

In a 4-3 ruling Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who “has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate.” The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent. Since the victim in this case was capable of “biting, kicking, scratching, screeching, groaning or gesturing,” the Court ruled that that victim could have communicated lack of consent despite her serious mental deficiencies:

When we consider this evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, and in a manner that is consistent with the state’s theory of guilt at trial, we, like the Appellate Court, ‘are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault.’

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), lack of physical resistance is not evidence of consent, as “many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.” RAINN also notes that lack of consent is implicit “if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect” as the victim did in this case.

Anna Doroghazi, director of public policy and communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, worried that the Court’s interpretation of the law ignored these concerns: “By implying that the victim in this case should have bitten or kicked her assailant, this ruling effectively holds people with disabilities to a higher standard than the rest of the population when it comes to proving lack of consent in sexual assault cases. Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.” An amicus brief filed by the Connecticut advocates for disabled persons argued that this higher standard “discourag[ed] the prosecution of crimes against persons with disabilities” even though “persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.”

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.

 

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245 comments

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10:56AM PST on Dec 29, 2012

Despicable!

1:51PM PST on Nov 18, 2012

OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how can such idiots still hold public office??????????? THEY ARE INCREDIBLY MORE DANGEROUS THAN CRIMINALS THEMSELVES!!!!!!! THEY ARE SENDING THE WOLF BACK AMONG THE SHEEP !!!!! WHAT DOES THE WORD "JUSTICE" MEAN TO THEM??? does it happen to have any meaning at all? Same old story, women are still looked down on by a male chauvinistic society... MAY A NEW DELUGE SAVE MANKIND FROM SUCH IRKSOME, TOXIC, UNHEALTHY CHARACTERS... JUDGES????????????? well, I guess hell is full of judges...

5:07PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

OUTRAGEOUS !Hope YOU get RAPED- put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak.... !

12:52PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Connecticut? Really? This certainly casts the state in a poor, dark-ages kind of light normally reserved for the true dark-age mentality states.

A related note: I don't know how to get the story here-maybe another will find the link--IRELAND reports woman dies when denied abortion during miscarriage.

Ladies-We've got to put this issue to bed ONCE AND FOR ALL. I am growing weary of hearing that I am a free American when my freedom, if some got their way, would not even start at my own body.

7:06AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Horrible!

9:34PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

Backwards thinking and people! This poor woman!

12:02AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

People with disabilities are often targeted as weaker victims. These people are disabled because their bodies don't work as well as able bodied people. Yet the disabled is supposed to fight harder? Crazy. Maybe those who voted should be put in a mental institute.

6:15AM PDT on Nov 1, 2012

The 4 members of the court that voted to overturn this conviction should immediately be removed from the bench. They have just opened the door for comatose people to be legally raped and anyone else that could be paralyzed by fear. The law should never be upheld by anyone who doesn't have any brains or common sense!

12:49AM PDT on Oct 27, 2012

What this poor woman must be going thru!!!

I am so sick of the law and lawyers! Are we so enamored of the letter of the law that we must accuse someone with the mind of a three year old of being complacent in her own rape. Are we so insensitive that we allow an able bodied man taking advantage of a severely handicapped woman walk away because he was capable of overpowering the woman so she could not put up a fight. Instead he should have the book thrown at him for taking advantage of someone incapable of defending themselves.

Many an able bodied woman finds it impossible to put up a fight for many reasons. Surprise, fear, confusion. How dare the court decide so arbitrarily how a woman should act when under threat!

I suppose this means we can't convict a pedophile of kiddy porn involving a three year old because they bear no signs of the child attempting to fight them off.

What a sick old world we live in.

5:49AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Just start removing these idiots by any means.

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