By Joyce Short
Editor’s note: Joyce Short is author of Carnal Abuse by Deceit. Visit her website RapeByFraud.com.
The frequency of sexual assaults on college campuses has become such a common occurrence that preventing further attacks inspired a nationwide campaign, endorsed by President Barack Obama. This effort, entitled It’sOnUs, calls attention to the many perilous ways students can be raped, but does not include rape by fraud, the crime of duplicitous sex that harmed many of us.
In addition to its obvious benefits for college students, why is this effort so important for us to address?
First and foremost, it establishes that “Non-consensual sex is sexual assault,” dispelling the long-held notion, by many states, that rape by extreme force is the only sexual assault that rises to a criminal level.
There are several legal myths that must be dispelled in order to create legal sanctions against rape by fraud.
The simple truth is that duplicity invalidates consent in all things. That’s why fraudsters, like Bernie Madoff, are punished when they make off with your money. Like Madoff, rapists who use fraud secure the consent of their victims. In Madoff’s case, his targets even ordered their brokers and bankers to transfer funds into his investment schemes. But the “consent” he achieved by his duplicity was not a legally valid consent. It was not freely and “knowingly” given. Only “knowing consent” is legally valid consent under the law.
What we’re fighting against, in the effort to create sanctions against rape by fraud, is the ironic concept that “knowing consent” is important in every other human interaction, but not in sex. Could the fact that the overwhelming majority of our law makers are men, and that the vast majority of rape by fraud victims are women, have something to do with it? And even though the protection would likely help far more women than men, the men who are targeted by female fraudsters deserve the same protections that women are being deprived of.
The concept that “Non-consensual sex is sexual assault” is the very first declaration in the “It’sOnUs” pledge.
It is an important first step in ridding state laws of their onerous doctrines of “force.” Once achieved, the next hurdle is to establish that lies of identity engage you in having sex with a stranger.
For instance, when someone removes their wedding band to sidle up to you, they are not only breaking their wedding vows, embroiling you in adultery and fornication, but they are also raping you through their use of fraud. Their knowing act of duplicity deprived you of your self-determination over your choice of a sexual partner, defiling you at your most intimate core.
- Rape by doping you undermines your knowing consent.
- Rape by intoxicating you undermines your knowing consent.
- Statutory rape of an underage minor undermines their knowing consent because they have yet to attain the age of consent.
- Sex with a mentally challenged person is rape when the victim is considered unable to provide “knowing consent.”
Why then is rape by fraud, the deliberate act of depriving someone of their “knowing consent” to engage them in intimacy, not punishable in the vast majority of states?
The state of Tennessee has the most appropriate language in the nation to penalize rape by fraud. Their statutes prohibit intercourse “induced by deception, accomplished by fraud and obtained by ruse.”
I am currently seeking a rape by fraud victim in the state of Tennessee who is willing to come forward to seek justice through criminal prosecution of the offender. Doing so can raise awareness throughout the country and help knock down the barriers that prevent wider implementation of rape by fraud laws.
Mischele Lewis recently came forward to demand the arrest of William Allen Jordan for defrauding her of sex in New Jersey. Although the Grand Jury failed to indict Jordan on the sexual assault charge, her efforts brought about awareness by a state lawmaker who is considering language to submit in New Jersey to protect its residents from such a crime.
Could you be the next person who stands up to make a difference in your state?
Anyone seeking more state-by-state information can find it, and me, at rapebyfraud.com.
Joyce M. Short
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