North Carolina Consent Law

When it comes to sexual consent in North Carolina, “no” does not always mean no.

While it sounds crazy, a woman is not allowed to revoke sexual consent in the Tar Heel State after it has already been given. In other words, if a man is having sex with her and she decides she doesn’t want to have sex anymore, too damn bad. No take backs. The man can keep having sex with her without fear of a rape charge.

The outdated legal precedent stems from a 1979 ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Way which says, “If the actual penetration is accomplished with the woman’s consent, the accused is not guilty of rape, although he may be guilty of another crime because of his subsequent actions.” That means the woman, once she says yes, is legally not allowed to say no. Well, she’s allowed to say it, but the man can simply ignore it without repercussion.

Let me be clear here: THIS. IS. INSANE.

Even more insane is that politicians in North Carolina are actively trying to change the law and, so far, have been unsuccessful.

In late March Democrat Senator Jeff Jackson sponsored a bill titled “Revoke Consent for Intercourse” (Senate Bill 553), but it didn’t even get a hearing. And according to local news outlet in North Carolina the bill is likely dead on arrival.

But this story gets worse. The bill was introduced following a March court case in which a man got a rape charged reduced thanks to the 1979 precedent.

Here’s what happened. North Carolina resident Amy Guy (who voluntarily released her name) said her estranged husband, Jonathan Wayne Guy, drunkenly showed up to her apartment back in December and wanted sex. She thought it would be safer just to agree, so she consented. When he became violent Amy changed her mind and begged for her husband to stop. But it was too late.

While her husband was initially charged with rape, that charge was later lowered to a misdemeanor assault thanks to the absurd legal precedent.  He pled guilty in March, but Amy is advocating for a change in the law.

“I was devastated. I didn’t understand how that could be because I knew I had been raped,” Amy told WRAL. “I don’t understand how the law can say that I wasn’t.”

Sadly Amy and Senator Jackson are facing an uphill battle. Which should not be the case. One would assume that both Republicans and Democrats would get behind a bill that says women have the right to SAY NO TO SEX, but apparently that’s not how we do things in America.

Case in point: Jackson has been fighting this for awhile. Back in 2015 he sponsored Senate Bill 505, also known as “Revoke Consent for Intercourse“, in an attempt to fix the law, but it too went nowhere.

So please, tell me we don’t live in a rape culture. I dare you.

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