One North Carolina Lawmaker Wants To Ensure "No" Means "No"

Photographed by Eylul Aslan.
Under current North Carolina law, a woman can't accuse a man of rape if she initially gave consent but later changed her mind. Luckily, state Sen. Jeff Jackson sees that as a major problem.
The local Democratic politician proposed Senate Bill 553, which clarifies that "a person who continues to engage in intercourse after consent is withdrawn" has committed rape. Although the bill is super heteronormative and focuses only on vaginal penetration, it gives women the legal right to withdraw consent in the middle of the act, "even if the actual penetration is accomplished with consent and even if there is only one act of vaginal intercourse."
"Legislators are hearing more and more about women who have been raped and are being denied justice because of this crazy loophole," Jackson told the local Fayetteville Observer. "North Carolina is the only state in [the] U.S. where no doesn’t mean no."
While only a few states have mandated that rape includes when a woman reverses her initial consent after sex has started, North Carolina is believed to be the only state with precedent mandating that it isn't classified as rape. South Dakota, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Kansas, and Minnesota have recognized the right in court decisions, while Illinois is the only state to put it into law, according to a Broadly report.
In a 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court case, State v. Way, a woman alleging she was raped testified that she agreed to go to her date's bedroom, but that he "forced her to have intercourse with him even though she begged him not to" once there. The court didn't find the man guilty, saying if penetration happened with the woman's consent, the man can't be found guilty of rape, "although he may be guilty of another crime because of his subsequent actions."
Because of the ruling, men in the state aren't convicted for rape when they continue having sex with women who tell them to stop after penetration.
Jackson's Senate bill is still in committee and has to work its way through the state Senate and House before landing on the governor's desk for a signature. But Jackson thinks it should be a no-brainer.
"There’s no reason for this to be partisan," Jackson told The Observer. "It’s about doing what’s obviously right."

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