Thousands of people have signed a petition demanding that North Carolina legislators pass a law that would address a 1979 Supreme Court ruling that women can’t withdraw consent after sex begins.
More than 27,000 people had signed the petition as of about 3 p.m. Thursday, after more than doubling overnight.
The petition was started by Megan Zehnder of Asheville.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
“As a society, we must continue to fight for legislation that backs up the ‘no means no’ standard of consent,” Zehnder said. “North Carolina’s legal loophole prioritizes a man’s desire to orgasm, even if forcibly, more than a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and safety.”
A 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court case gave a man convicted of second-degree rape a new trial because the Supreme Court ruled he couldn’t be convicted of rape if his alleged victim said no after – not before – sex began.
North Carolina law does not define consent or require either party to procure it prior to sexual activity. In North Carolina, first-degree rape must be vaginal intercourse by force with the threat or reality of violence, indicating that an encounter must be violent in some way before it would be considered first-degree rape in North Carolina. The law does not account for rape of men or boys and does not classify penalties for it under first- or second-degree rape law.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg County is sponsoring Senate Bill 553, which would make it a crime to continue intercourse after a woman revokes consent.
The “Revoke Consent for Intercourse” bill would amend current law so that “a person who continues to engage in intercourse after consent is withdrawn is deemed to have committed the act of intercourse by force and against the will of the other person.”
The law specifically mentions the withdrawal of consent for vaginal intercourse. It would make it a crime to have sex with a woman after she has revoked consent, though it makes no mention of protections for men who revoke consent.
The bill now rests in the Senate’s Rules Committee, where Jackson said it likely will be dead for the remainder of the two-year legislative session.
To see the petition, go to www.thepetitionsite.com/698/507/967.
NC Rape Crisis Centers
For information on North Carolina rape crisis centers or to find one in your area, go to www.nccasa.org/need-help/nc-rape-crisis-centers.