I tried, folks, but like the old ELO song, I just can’t get this out of my head. It’s about the worst thing I’ve come across where disability issues, misogyny, and misfiring justice join hands to fuck somebody over.
Let’s start at the end and work backwards. Here’s the quote from the Anna Doroghazi, director of public policy and communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services:
“Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.”
So how do we arrive at this conclusion?
His victim, who was 26 at the time of the assault [and suffering from cerebral palsy] , reportedly cannot speak and has little body movement. The woman, known in court by her initials L.K., “is so physically restricted that she is able to make motions only with her right index finger.”
She also is said to have the “intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old,” NBC Connecticut notes.
I know what you’re thinking: “Romney voter!” Leave that aside for now.
[I]n a 4-3 ruling on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction, saying there isn’t enough evidence to prove victim resisted [the defendant’s] advances….As Think Progress notes, Connecticut statutes “define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as ‘unconscious or for any other reason…physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.'”
Thus, [the defendant] couldn’t be convicted if there was “any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent.”…..In this case, defense lawyers argued, the victim could have communicated that resistance by “biting, kicking, screaming and gesturing,” according to NBC Connecticut.
Now re-read the quote we started with and try not to gag. In fact, read the whole thing:
“By implying that the victim in this case should have bitten or kicked her assailant, this ruling effectively holds people with disabilities to a higher standard than the rest of the population when it comes to proving lack of consent in sexual assault cases,” Doroghazi continued. “Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.”
Does it even have to be articulated that a severely disabled person with the mental capacity of a 3 year old can’t possibly give consent to a sexual encounter? And if that individual cannot either give (or deny) consent, then in fact no consent is given, and if no consent is given, then dammit, that’s sex without consent known popularly as rape.
But this is law, not logic. And it’s rape, not sex.
PS I spotted this story here a few days ago. This is a blogger with exemplary skills at expressing outrage intelligently and forcefully. IMHO, we could use more of that.