This story has been floating around in image form. Is it as ludicrous as it is presented, or are there nuanced facts being left out? Did it even happen?
The 18-year-old woman (“J.L.”) had sex in her car in a parking lot with a 15-year-old boy* whom she knew socially.
During the sex she withdrew her consent and asked him to stop. The boy stopped without having ejaculated, they returned to the McDonald’s restaurant they had been at earlier that day and she gave him her telephone number. Hours later she told a friend’s mother what had happened, the boy was arrested and tried for rape for his failure to stop the intercourse instantly:
Assistant state’s attorney: “About how long did he continue to push his penis into your vagina?”
J.L.: “About five or so seconds.”
Based on this delay of “five or so seconds” the boy was convicted of first-degree rape.
Dr. Ann Burgess, a Professor of Nursing, testified on behalf of the State that the absence of torn clothes and the woman’s behavior like her lack of physical resistance, failure to scream, sharing her telephone number, not calling 911, not immediately telling the first person about the rape “even if that person might be their best friend” and engaging in routine behavor such as “going to the supermarket and shopping” shortly after a rape is consistent with what she called “rape trauma syndrome” (her own theory which she developed with sociologist Lynda Holmström.)
The court case highlighted not only the widening definition of rape and how lack of rape evidence can be used to construe “rape trauma” but also how irrelevant the testimony of a male defendant has become:
Q: When she was sitting there, was she dressed?
A: She didn’t have nothing on but her shirt.
Q: How did she appear?
A: She appeared normal.
Q: Was she crying?
A: No, she wasn’t.
Q: When you got in the car, what, if anything, did you say or do?
A: I asked her if she was going to let me have sex with her. [..]
Q: What, if anything, did she say?
A: She said yes, as long as I stop when she says to. And then I said “I’m not going to rape you.”
Q: Did you feel that was permission?
A: Yeah, I thought that that was permission.
Q: Why did you say “I don’t want to rape you”?
A: Jut to, because she said, “Stop when I say to,” just to tell her that. It’s kind of like to confirm the permission.
Q: So after she said “Stop when I say stop,” what did you do, if anything? [..]
A: I took the condom out of my pocket and I ripped it open, I put on the condom [..], threw the condom [envelope] on the floor [..] and she picked it up and told me to throw it out the window.
Q: She gave it back to you?
Q: Where was it? On the floor?
A: Yeah. [..]
Q: What did you do with it when she gave it back to you?
A: I threw it out the window.
Q: Was the window open, or did you have to roll it down? [..] Had you previously closed it or opened it?
A: No. I didn’t touch the window the whole night.
Q: When you were putting on your condom, where was she, what position was she in?
A: She was, first she was sitting in the car when we was talking, and then she was still sitting when I put on the condom. But then after, when I was trying to go in there, she was like laying down in the car in the backseat.
Q: What did you do physically? [..] What did you do with your penis?
A: I tried to put it in.
Q: Do you know where it was touching or what happened to it?
A: No. After I tried to put it in once, it wouldn’t go in, and I tried a couple more times and it wouldn’t go in. I didn’t feel nothing there.
Q: What happened? What did she say or do?
A: And then she sat up. She was like, “It’s not going to go in,” and that’s when, after she sat up and said “It’s not going to go in,” [..]
Q: Who said “It’s not going to go in?” You or her?
A: She did.
Q: When she sat up, what did that mean to you?
A: That meant stop.
Q: She didn’t say “Stop”?
A: No, she didn’t. She just sat up.
Q: And you took that to mean stop?
Q: When she sat up, did you try to put it in again?
A: No, I didn’t.
The boy was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with all but 5 years suspended, and 5 years probation upon release.
* some sources claim he was 16 years old
Court case: “Maouloud Baby v. State of Maryland”