Women can't revoke consent to sex once underway, NC law states - | WBTV Charlotte

Women can't revoke consent to sex once underway, NC law states

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)

You hear the phrase 'no means no' thrown around when it comes to a woman's ability to protect herself from unwanted sexual advances, but in the state of North Carolina - no doesn't always mean no.

The Fayetteville Observer recently posted a story about a teenage girl who said she was at a party when a man pulled her into a bathroom to have sex. She initially consented, but told police when the sex turned violent, she told the man to stop. And he didn't.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in 1979, in State v. Way, that women cannot revoke consent after sexual intercourse begins. 

State v. Way (297 N.C. 293) states that if [intercourse begins] with the victim's consent, no rape has occurred though the victim later withdraws consent during the same act of intercourse. 

A Mecklenburg County Democrat, Jeff Jackson, is looking to get the law changed.

“Legislators are hearing more and more about women who have been raped and are being denied justice because of this crazy loophole,” Jackson told the Fayetteville Observer. “North Carolina is the only state in U.S. where no doesn’t mean no.”

Jackson introduced Senate Bill 553 in late March, looking to change the bill to make it illegal to continue sex once consent is withdrawn.  The politician became concerned about this law when he was a prosecutor. Once he became a state lawmaker, he wanted to change things.

"Our office had a case where a woman was raped," Jackson told WBTV during an interview Friday. "But she initially consented to the penetration - but it turned violent. She said stop and what I learned is North Carolina law doesn't protect her under those circumstances. You don't get the right to say stop if sex turns violent."

If a person continues after consent is withdrawn, the bill seeks to make it an act of force and against the will of the victim.

"It's indefensible," Jackson said. "I have not met a single person who thinks that should be the law."

Since the bill was introduced, Jackson remains the only sponsor of the bill. Jackson wants his bill passed before the NC General Assembly session ends in a few days.

"I am having conversations with Republicans," the politician said. "And I am saying 'do you have any objections - if so, let's talk about it'."

Jackson's office says very few lawmakers are aware of North Carolina's rape law.

Representatives from the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys say the law is still good and add other lawyers call their office to make sure the law is current and are stunned to find out it is.

If the bill is to be introduced by the time the session ends, Senate Bill 533 has to be amended. Jackson says he is working on that and is hopeful his bill will be introduced and passed very soon.

Jackson's bill is still in the Senate Rules and Operations Committee where it has been since April 3. If the bill moves forward and is passed, the bill looks to become law on December 1.?

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