Sex or Sex Assault: The 5 Ws Checklist

sexual-assault_1The American Judicial system has once again sent a clear message to America’s girls: sexual assault—even rape—is no big deal.

In this case there was no question of wrongdoing. The 18-year old boy (at the time of the assault) admitted to the police that he forced the then 14-year old girl to have sex.

The boy faced up to 20 years in prison but instead got 45 days in jail, 5 years of probation, and 250 hours of community service (to be spent at a rape crisis center (!) but the center nixed that idea).

So why no lengthy prison sentence?

The girl had agreed to have sex with the boy off school grounds, but the boy initiated sex on school grounds. When the girls said “no”, the boy forced her to have sex.

As a result, the (female) judge decided that since the girl gave the okay on the ‘Who’ (that boy) and the ‘What’ (having sex), it was a mitigating factor when the boy decided to force on the girl his desire for the ‘Where’, and ‘When’, and ‘Why’ (on school grounds, right now, because he wanted to!).

The judge further decided that, since the girl was not a virgin and had previously given birth, she wasn’t really the victim she claimed to be and that the boy wasn’t really a typical sex offender.

The problem is that the boy did rape the girl, which means the boy is a typical sex offender, and therefore should have been treated as such. While he didn’t avoid punishment, he did avoid the punishment deemed appropriate for a rapist.

For years we’ve been telling males that “No means no”, but this decision significantly undermines that message because it clearly says “no” doesn’t really mean “no”. Instead, it means “sorta, kinda ‘no’, but feel free to use force to subvert a female’s wishes because we won’t send you to prison”.

Is that really the message we want to send our boys? Just as importantly, is that the message we want to send our girls?

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