Right to revoke consent included in new sexual assault laws signed by governor

Right to revoke consent included in new sexual assault laws signed by governor
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina was the only state in the country where a person could not revoke consent to have sex, once sex had begun until Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill to modernize sexual abuse laws Thursday.

The Right to Revoke Consent and Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws was passed by the general assembly a week ago.

The act known as House Bill 393 was passed unanimously in the state House back in April before it was passed to the state Senate. Parts VI and V of Senate Bill 199 cleared the NC Senate on Halloween.

Under Senate Bill 199, a person can be prosecuted for rape if they don’t stop when their partner clearly articulates “no” during sex. Officials would be able to hold accountable those who get consent and then choose to hurt someone who has changed their mind.

“This bill represents a major step forward for the people of North Carolina. By strengthening our sexual assault and child protection laws, we will ensure that survivors get the access to justice they deserve and our kids are kept safer than ever before," State Representative Chaz Beasley said in a press release.

The new laws also make drugging someone’s drink illegal, closes the “incapacitation loophole” that allows assailants to escape prosecution because the victim was already in a vulnerable state, and extend the statute of limitations for child sex crime victims.

“It’s an incredible victory for women’s rights and protections for victims of sexual assault,” said Sen. Jeff Jackson in a press release. “Every year victims would call us, share their stories and ask why this loophole still existed. I’m proud to be able to report back that it’s finally closed and I’m thankful for all the advocates and reporting that helped close this loophole.”

Senator Jackson initially filed a bill to close the consent loophole in 2015. This year marked the fourth time the senator filed for the protections.

“For too long, North Carolina has not protected sexual abuse victims the same ways other states have, and this law closes that consent loophole,” said Governor Roy Cooper in a press release. “This bipartisan legislation goes a long way to protect all victims of sexual assault, especially children, and will help more people seek justice against abusers.”

The new law will go into effect Dec. 1, 2019.

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