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May 11 2007

MA lege to women: “Nice try, but you’re still just meat envelopes to us!”

Just when I thought I could dismount the blamechair and biff off for a taco for 10 minutes, Jessica emails me this astonishing and obscene bit of adjudication on men-hate-you rape culture:

A Hampden County [Massachusetts] man who allegedly tricked his brother’s girlfriend into having sex with him by impersonating his sibling in the middle of the night cannot be convicted of rape, the state’s highest court ruled yesterday in a controversial decision that affirms the court’s long-held view that sex obtained through fraud is no crime.

That’s right. Dude pretends to be sleeping woman’s boyfriend, thus tricking her into servicing him, but because she didn’t say no, it’s not rape.

Well, what the fuck is it then? As victim’s advocate Wendy J Murphy opines in the Boston Globe article, the ruling merely reiterates that in the eyes of the law, a dude’s right to pork supersedes a woman’s right to personal bodily sovereignty.

21st century America: where fraud is a crime, and rape is a crime, unless you do’em both at the same time; then the Manly Rapist Protection Society throws a gala ball in your honor, you go on the talk show circuit, star in a porn film, and some famous celebrity deli names a wiener after you.

Once again: if a woman says it’s rape, it’s rape. End of story.

58 comments

1 ping

  1. Ugly In Pink

    I agree completely on the substance, but don’t blame the judges. They relied on precedent that fraud could not substitute for force in the rape law, and have asked many times for the legislature to change the wording of the law. It’s the legislature’s fault, and unfortunately this asshole is going to get off scot free because of their laziness.

    As an aside though, the victim can still sue under tort law (and totally should), as fraud vitiates consent for battery.

  2. Twisty

    Point taken, UIP. I’ll amend the post title.

  3. Shira

    “His client, who has been free since his March 2006 trial ended in a hung jury, denies impersonating his brother and maintains that the sex was consensual.”

    What a shocker. Well, we all know how women lie about fraud.

  4. Ugly In Pink

    Cool! Yeah I just had my torts final last week, so this stuff is all at the forefront of my mind. I hope she sues for battery though, the punitive damages would probably be pretty insane under the circumstances.

    As an aside, I wonder if it’s easier to get past the fucktarded anti-woman prejudice in civil court than in criminal? After all, you won’t be suing under something that’s specifically called “rape” so maybe you’d have a better chance of getting justice. It’s not fair by any means, but I’m just thinking strategies for getting rape victims something while the patriarchy still holds sway.

  5. Pinko Punko

    Just change the fucking law, Massholes! God damn it. Every state needs to change the law. There will be some weird shit they have to wade through meaning it will most likely be an “I know it when I see it” law. Meaning situations like the above will be CLEARLY and ABSOLUTELY illegal while situations like some guy in the full light of day saying he’s Fabio or something and a undertaking a consensual relationship under those false pretenses seem different. Or maybe that is rape too. For whatever reason my instinct says that the story here is clearly, clearly rape, but that the law will have to be written in an odd way to define “fraud” to be enforceable. I really thought when I read this yesterday that the evil that regular old knobs choose to perpetrate really has no bounds.

  6. Ugly In Pink

    Actually I think they only have to change one word. Right now MA law says rape has to be by force AND against the will of the victim. It should say by force OR against the will of the victim. Since consent is eliminated (as I said) by fraud, I think that would cover everything, since if it’s by force but not against the will of the victim, that’s meaningless and wouldn’t come up, because you’d never press charges, although i’m sure some asshole will come in here claiming a woman could just beg a man to beat the crap out of her and force sex on her, then “cry rape.” But y’know what? I think we can settle that when it comes up, which will be never.

  7. Ugly In Pink

    Aaaand, to follow up, using OR would, i’ve been informed, allow for more abuses of police power like the case of Paddleboro, where the cops arrested a BDSM party. http://www.nerve.com/Dispatches/Chihara/paddleboro/
    Regardless of personal feelings about BDSM (I think it’s creepy too) it’s true, having “force or against the will” would leave an opening to arrest consentual kinky people, which I really don’t think is a good idea.

    So, how about just “against the will of the victim.” That would also make it clearer in cases of coerced rape. Hell, MOST of the time no actual physical force is involved in rape cases anyway.

  8. zofia

    Just change the fucking law, Massholes!

    Massholes, I’ll have to rememeber that. I live in Massachusetts and this story was hotly debated this afternoon in my department. There was one woman who argued that the girl should have been able to tell (with her extra sensory vagina) that he wasn’t really her boyfriend and a couple of men who claimed that she is just some kind of ‘venus pussy trap’ trying to get him into trouble to assuage her guilt. Luckily, both were in the minority and the majority (men and women)clearly thought it was a travesty and are determined to take make sure this is addressed in the next legislative session.

  9. stekatz

    So, let me get this straight. In order for me not to get the rape that is coming to me, I must not: wear revealing clothing, walk at night, shirk my marital duties, leave a window open, go to parties and have a drink, walk into a bar, drive by myself, allow my brother to offend some guy in a rival clan, be a prostitute, and, the newly added item on this list, I must not fail to ask for ID when my signigficant other climbs into bed after I’m already asleep.

    Okay…writing this down. Whew, it’s hard to keep track of all these rules in the patriarchy. I may have to go out and buy one of those Franklin organizers to track all this. Or read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Rapists.

  10. lawbitch

    This woman consented to have sex with her boyfriend not some loser pretending to be her boyfriend. Legislators are too stoopid to write a law covering this? How pathetic are these legislators?

  11. Pinko Punko

    The law is old an on the books- I think the issue is that I’m not sure how often this stuff ocmes up, but it seems like it has come up enough for there to be precedent for ruling the way they have (the story I read yesterday suggested there had been other rulings, but didn’t list what those cases were like).

  12. inspiredbycoffee

    I studied this case years ago in my law degree:

    R v Collins [1973] QB 100

    The defendant, having discovered that a woman was lying asleep and naked on her bed, stripped off his clothes and climbed up a ladder on to the window sill of the bedroom. At this moment the woman awoke and, mistakenly believing that the naked form at the window was her boyfriend, beckoned the defendant in. The defendant then got into her bed and it was only after the defendant had intercourse with her that the woman realised her error. The defendant’s conviction for burglary (entering as a trespasser with intent to commit rape contrary to s9(1)(a)) was quashed “on the basis that the jury were never invited to consider the vital question whether the defendant did enter the premises as a trespasser, that is to say knowing perfectly well that he had no invitation to enter or reckless of whether or not his entry was with permission …”

    This particular casenote omits to mention a couple of crucial facts:

    1. Collins was a (sicko) builder who had become infatuated with the poor woman he raped.
    2. He had purposely got himself drunk in order to pluck up the courage to do this.

    And I’m sure there’s other interesting stuff too, I just can’t quite remember it at the mo. Anyway, the point is that this sort of decision is a hallmark of a thoroughly patriarchal common law legal system on both sides of the atlantic.

  13. Twisty

    “the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Rapists.”

    Ha!

  14. Charlotte

    So, two wrongs *do* make a right. We’ll remember that the next time a woman cuts someone’s penis off–I’ll say if she also steals his credit card, this won’t be a punishable offense.

  15. brklyngrl

    So I think the message we can safely take away from all this is that at least two of the following three conditions for legally recognized rape must be met:

    1. Rapist is a stranger

    2. Rapist is a Black man and you are a White woman

    3. Rapist uses a high enough degree of violence that the victim has severe physical injuries

    Otherwise you might as well not even bother pressing charges because you will *not* see justice. I am in no way suggesting that a case possessing at least two of these three conditions guarantees justice.

  16. Rainbow Girl

    Massachusetts legal system:

    “Well she shouldn’t have been sleeping in the dark”.

  17. smmo

    That poor woman – it would be truly horrifying to be raped by trickery by your boyfriend’s brother. She must be very brave to come forward and report it, and to face whatever shitstorm she had to face from the family. I wonder if her boyfriend believed her. I hope so, but have my doubts.

  18. Atto

    Once again: if a woman says it’s rape, it’s rape. End of story.

    Clearly an appalling miscarriage of justice has occurred in the case at hand, but your statement is problematic and a statement of rape is not in fact the “end of story.” Sexual assailants need to be prosecuted to the fullest but we also need to make sure accusations are true. We have natural desire to presume the guilt of accused sexual offenders but we also must remember that an accusation must be borne out by the facts. cf Tawana Brawley and the Duke case.

  19. Frumious B

    MA law says rape has to be by force AND against the will of the victim

    “AND”? So, raping a drunk person isn’t legally rape in MA? What counts as force – many a date rape victim did not fight back. Damn, I thought MA was supposed to be progressive.

  20. MedeaOnCrack

    Crystal Mangum was raped.

  21. KMTberry

    I think I see what is REEEAALLLY GOING ON HERE: If you define rape as something that could happen “by fraud” or “by force”, then ALL THE DUDES who get a female to have sexual congress with them by PROMISING to MARRY THEM (or any other promise) would be guilty of rape.

    ANd since very man alive practically has made false promises in order to get some Tang, this makes all the legislators run a finger around their sweaty collars and squinch up one side of their mouth, like on the Simpsons.

    Can’t make LYING in order to get into HER PANTS a CRIME!!! Cause then they’d ALL be in jail!

  22. LMYC

    KMTberry, you are so right I feel like puking right now. Fucking HELL.

    God, I really, honestly do hate all men.

  23. Blamerella

    We have natural desire to presume the guilt of accused sexual offenders but we also must remember that an accusation must be borne out by the facts. cf Tawana Brawley and the Duke case.

    Atto, if ‘we’ had such a natural desire, then the bogus specter of false accusations would not dog every single discussion of rape and be raised every single time a rape case gains prominence. The name of Tawana Brawley would not be well known to people nearly 20 years later. No, ‘we’ have been conditioned to deny the experience of victims. As for facts bearing out accusations, they have proven to be irrelevant far too often, as evidenced by how willing judges and juries still seem to be to acquit rapists because the woman did something that made her rape-worthy.

  24. msxochitl

    KMTberry: “If you define rape as something that could happen ‘by fraud’ or ‘by force’, then ALL THE DUDES who get a female to have sexual congress with them by PROMISING to MARRY THEM (or any other promise) would be guilty of rape.”

    Yep, they’re afraid to we’ll start noticing how much of normal hetero sex involves male coercion, fraud, and intimidation of women. In other words, we’ll start to see how much of what passes for normal, healthy hetero sex looks a lot like rape.

  25. Bruce/Crablaw

    Judges are more willing to get creative in a civil context than in a criminal one, more willing to apply rules of equity to prevent a patent injustice. Were this rape victim (that’s what she is, of course, whether the Massachusetts legislature had both the foresight and the desire to prevent rape by deception) to sue, her best case might well be “intentional infliction of emotional distress” which requires severe emotional damages, an intentional and outrageous act or acts beyond all decency by the defendant and causation, all of which elements appear present. Massachusetts recognizes this tort and has done so for 30 years, according to my out-of-state research as a Maryland attorney.

  26. Sarah

    Honestly it sounds like rape to me anyway, regardless of the fraud/identity issue. He comes uninvited into her bedroom at night, while she’s sleeping, gets into her bed. He removed her clothes. He had sex with her (not ‘they had sex’). But if she thought that was normal behaviour, then presumably her regular boyfriend is in the habit of pulling off her clothes and having sex with her without even checking whether that’s ok with her!

  27. Zonk

    “Can’t make LYING in order to get into HER PANTS a CRIME!!! Cause then they’d ALL be in jail!”

    No, they all wouldn’t. A lot would, and so would a lot of females. We’d just as well turn the continent of north america into a penal colony and effectively change nothing.

  28. Twisty

    “Clearly an appalling miscarriage of justice has occurred in the case at hand, but your statement is problematic and a statement of rape is not in fact the “end of story.”

    Yo, Atto. I’n not talking about the “justice” system. Stingray just informed me that there are something like 2700 kids in Amrican prisons serving life without parole, and the US still has the death penalty, not to mention this asinine Mass. law, so I am not sanguine about legal redress. I’m talking about culturally. Because at the moment, the narrative is skewed to favor this mythical conniving bitch who “regrets” her “consensual” sex.

  29. KMTberry

    “Can’t make LYING in order to get into HER PANTS a CRIME!!! Cause then they’d ALL be in jail!”

    No, they all wouldn’t. A lot would, and so would a lot of females.

    Don’t make me laff.

    Fraudulent promises (usually having to do with truly serious matters such as “what if I get pregnant?”) and coercion in order to obtain access to the opposite sex’s body is SO primarily a MALE behavior, that it is just specious to say that “females do it too”.

    I have many male friends, most of whom have been my friends in excess of twenty years, and I have YET to hear one of them tell me a tale where a female made fraudulent promises to them in order to get in their pants.

  30. bluestockingsrs

    “While I agree with this comment completely I wonder why it is my lesbian friends have FREQUENTLY pulled the same *heteromale* classified bull-shit on their female partners?”

    I am going to go with IBTP on that one.

    And that you have a poor selection of friends.

  31. thebewilderness

    Women are so fucking stupid & easily manipulated, even dykes with Ph.d’s.
    Paulette
    I fixed your typo,
    People are conditioned to be so fucking stupid & easily manipulated, even dykes with Ph.d’s.
    IBTP

  32. We'veBeenHad

    Well. I guess you try to argue this from a woman’s point of view and get skewered. Not here, but elsewhere. Live and learn.

  33. We'veBeenHad

    Ok I just asked my husband his opinion – clearly, he said, – RAPE. Why is this even a question???? Even if, as the brother claimed, she went to his room and offered herself to him (highly doubtful) it’s STILL RAPE. Holy shit, why is this up for discussion anywhere???

  34. We'veBeenHad

    And all the feminists went silent when I decided to speak up.

    Now if you ever wonder why women stop fighting?

    You know. Because when they dare to open up their mouths the feminists shut the fuck up. Like good girls. Because it’s snopesssssesss. We HATESSSSssss itt!

    Whatever.

  35. RadFemHedonist

    And all the feminists went silent when I decided to speak up.

    Now if you ever wonder why women stop fighting?

    You know. Because when they dare to open up their mouths the feminists shut the fuck up. Like good girls. Because it’s snopesssssesss. We HATESSSSssss itt!

    Whatever.

    I don’t understand this, are you saying feminists are polite and stay quiet when you have something to say, or that they don’t defend you from slurs when things like rape happen?

  36. RadFemHedonist

    I did read the FAQ, but can someone tell me where to learn how to use code for quotes/URLs/italics/etc on this? I keep experimenting and I am getting nowhere, I tried to quote during my last post but nothing happened.

  37. vera

    RadFemHedonist:

    I wish I could include a snippet of code here to show you how to do quotes, italics, etc. But the software that posts our comments would interpret my example as code. (There is a way to post sample code, but I’m not sure this software renders it correctly.)

    Anyway. You can use common HTML commands when you write your comments. An HTML command begins with an angle bracket–the one that’s with the comma on your keyboard. It ends with another angle bracket–the one that’s with the period.

    In-between the angle brackets is the command: “i” for italics, “blockquote” for quotations, “b” for bold, and several more.

    So here’s how you’d make something italic:

    1. Type an opening angle bracket (press the Shift key and the comma key).
    2. Type an “i” (a naked one, without the quotation marks).
    3. Type a closing angle bracket (press the Shift key and the period key).

    Everything you type after that will be in italics.

    Now for the part that people often forget: turning OFF the command. After you type all the italics you want, and you wish to revert to plain text, do this:

    1. Type an opening angle bracket (press the Shift key and the comma key).
    2. Type an “/i” (a slash mark and another “i”, without the quotation marks).
    3. Type a closing angle bracket (press the Shift key and the period key).

    For quotes, replace the “i” in the instructions with the word “blockquote”. For bold, replace it with “b”.

    I’ll see if I can find a reference guide to basic HTML commands on a webpage somewhere, or I’ll write one, and post it soon.

  38. RadFemHedonist

    RadFemHedonist:

    I wish I could include a snippet of code here to show you how to do quotes, italics, etc. But the software that posts our comments would interpret my example as code. (There is a way to post sample code, but I’m not sure this software renders it correctly.)

    Anyway. You can use common HTML commands when you write your comments. An HTML command begins with an angle bracket–the one that’s with the comma on your keyboard. It ends with another angle bracket–the one that’s with the period.

    In-between the angle brackets is the command: “i” for italics, “blockquote” for quotations, “b” for bold, and several more.

    So here’s how you’d make something italic:

    1. Type an opening angle bracket (press the Shift key and the comma key).
    2. Type an “i” (a naked one, without the quotation marks).
    3. Type a closing angle bracket (press the Shift key and the period key).

    Everything you type after that will be in italics.

    Now for the part that people often forget: turning OFF the command. After you type all the italics you want, and you wish to revert to plain text, do this:

    1. Type an opening angle bracket (press the Shift key and the comma key).
    2. Type an “/i” (a slash mark and another “i”, without the quotation marks).
    3. Type a closing angle bracket (press the Shift key and the period key).

    For quotes, replace the “i” in the instructions with the word “blockquote”. For bold, replace it with “b”.

    I’ll see if I can find a reference guide to basic HTML commands on a webpage somewhere, or I’ll write one, and post it soon.

    Thanks, that was easy to understand.

  39. Cath

    I think I see what is REEEAALLLY GOING ON HERE: If you define rape as something that could happen “by fraud” or “by force”, then ALL THE DUDES who get a female to have sexual congress with them by PROMISING to MARRY THEM (or any other promise) would be guilty of rape.

    ANd since very man alive practically has made false promises in order to get some Tang, this makes all the legislators run a finger around their sweaty collars and squinch up one side of their mouth, like on the Simpsons.

    Can’t make LYING in order to get into HER PANTS a CRIME!!! Cause then they’d ALL be in jail!

    That’s exactly what’s happening in the comments section to this story over on Feministing. First some ass canker named Dave started arguing that lying is basic male sexual behavior, then it turned into the usual “women rape too!” crap, and finally it took a turn for the flat-out bizarre as some dink named Ranter totally derailed the thread with his stereotypes of male and female behavior. I need to quit even looking at that site.

    “Meat envelopes,” on the other hand, is entering my permanent lexicon.

  40. Andrew B.

    I was beaten to it!

    -A-

  41. Joshua

    By way of illustrating how pervasive Mother Culture is, even a feminist blog writer can refer to sex between a man and a woman as the woman “servicing” the man. I’ve had sex where I was being “serviced,” but as we don’t know the nature of the interaction, shouldn’t we default to language that treats her as an equal participant in the sex act? At least up until she learned of the fraud, perhaps she was.

  42. Jill

    Hey Joshua,

    You get that this guy raped this woman, right? Because if you don’t, your blaming chops are insufficient to qualify you for commenting on this blog.

  43. Comrade PhysioProf

    What the fuck is Mother Culture?

  44. Laughingrat

    CPP, “Mother Culture” is the secret code name of the project wherein right-wing scientists attempt to grow wombs in petri dishes. You know, so they can have all the reproductive functionality of the female sex without those pesky wimminz attached.

  45. PandanCat

    Any chance that those artificial wombs will be used to raise the baybeez that otherwise would have been aborted, with the state picking up all the costs for those precious, priceless lives?

    Yeah, didn’t think so either.

    /derail

    I did a lazy search for any new developments and couldn’t find any. (It was, though, very lazy.) However, there’s sure a lot of weird stuff goin’ on down there. Worldwide business as usual, of course.

  46. Jill

    “CPP, “Mother Culture” is the secret code name of the project wherein right-wing scientists attempt to grow wombs in petri dishes. You know, so they can have all the reproductive functionality of the female sex without those pesky wimminz attached.”

    I am all for this, so I guess I’m down with the right-wing scientists for once. Seriously.

  47. Felicity

    Explain??

    Maybe men could get their testicles in a twist and ruin the lives of petri dishes instead, the new recepticle of their glorified seed. Petri dishes would be the new oppressed class.

    Oh but wait – ‘innate sexism’ is 99% social construct.

  48. Hedgepig

    The only way for women to be liberated and patriarchy destroyed is by removing the ‘orifice’ designation bestowed on each female at birth. Having babies growing somewhere other than inside women’s bodies would go part way to removing the logic behind the “but it’s only natural for women to be receptacles/orifices” argument.
    Also, maybe if men were actually in total control of reproduction they’d stop punishing women, since so much of patriarchy’s persecution of women is about controlling our power over foetal life and death. Relinquishing that power may well set us free.

  49. agasaya

    Why would any feminist view our reproductive capacities with disgust? Just because men view us as orifices doesn’t mean we should hate our own genitalia as being nothing more than a receptacle for semen and the means by which we disgorge babies. Many heterosexual women choose not to bear children. Many lesbians eschew heterosexual relations but seek to be artificially inseminated so they can have their own biological children.

    We need to spend less time absorbing hatred of our bodies and the varieties of sexual orientations out there. If women can’t hold sex and the reproductive process (in all of their permutations) with esteem, then we’ve nothing left to endorse. The patriarchal viewpoint is the obscenity and not the processes themselves.

  50. Hedgepig

    agasaya: Speaking for myself,as a feminist, I consider women’s reproductive capacities to be miraculously marvellous, and I think our genitalia is superb. Patriarchy designates our orifices (mouth, vagina, rectum) as simply holes to stick things in, and as patriarchy is the dominant ideology, that is how society and the law sees us, regardless of how we see ourselves.
    We’re probably not in much disagreement really, although I don’t think women have “nothing left to endorse” apart from “sex and the reproductive process.”

  51. agasaya

    My comment centered around the importance of not refuting our own physiologies beginning with menarch, to active sexual lives, childbirth if desired and straight through menopause. If we reject any of those basic bodily functions and life stages simply because they have been used as themes for male oppression, we are merely denying part of our identities in an actual validation of the P which desires and despises it simultaneously. Men certainly haven’t been slow to find ways to reject us solely on the basis of our higher cognitive functions (‘female reasoning, hah!) where that serves as the basis for perceived competition with them at home or on the job.

    We should therefore endorse the entire package in all of its diversity. After all, our physiology appears to offer us a boost in terms of those higher cognitive functions.

    Yes, it is doubtful that we are far apart in viewpoints but the phrasing can be important since self-hatred is a major barrier we have to break through in the battle.

  52. Laughingrat

    Oh my dawg, once again something silly I said on the internetz has unintentionally triggered an argument. *headdesk* I’m just gonna back away from the computer and watch my rats bicker over mashed sweet potato.

  53. PandanCat

    Why not have petri dishes and natural wombs? And why not have uterus-men while we’re at it? My bioengineer friends keep dragging their feet on that last one, even though I’ve been suggesting it for years now.

  54. Laughingrat

    But if men had to have babies, think of how inconvenient it would be for them! They’d have to plan for childcare and contraception and wombular health and all that stuff. What’s the fun of being a man if you have to deal with all the crap women have to deal with?

  55. Jill

    The human reproductive process puts women at a distinct disadvantage, patriarchy or no patriarchy.

  56. agasaya

    Sorry to be so dense but what exactly is the nature of this disadvantage? Heterosexual relations and reproduction aren’t mandatory outside of patriarchy, if not to someone’s taste. The corporate policy of financially penalizing women for the female physiology requiring more maintenance – largely due to toxic environments and age of childbearing rather than nature -is just as discriminatory as any other form of patriarchy. That will only be remedied by legal mandate just as occurred with the FMLA which was passed largely with men in mind who had sick wives and kids.

    Within patriarchy, any characteristic of women be it physiological or psychological or imagined is sufficient reason for hatred/fear/desire. So why is it being mourned on this blog outside of patriarchy?

  57. Jill

    I allude to the physical process of reproduction. It may be “natural” and all that, but no way is hosting parasitic growths good for the host.

  58. Arsepolitico

    @KMTBerry:

    Bingo. remember the case in Israel where everyone was crying racism b/c a Jewish woman called it rape when she slept with a man who lied and said was Jewish?

    Note how many conveniently ignored the fact that whether she was racist or not was completely irrelevant?

    That’s why. and most of the apologists have absolutely no problem defending fraud in aide to bonking knowingly and out loud. I believe they like to file it under one people commonly use for for racism as well: “Everybody does it”

  1. {massachusetts rapist not punished for raping his rape victim} at The Republic of Dogs

    [...] Twisty puts it best, as usual: “MA lege to women: ‘Nice try, but you’re still just meat envelopes to us!’” [...]

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