Still, everyone survived, making this a good news story by 2016 standards. Hooray?
Oklahoma Discovered It Didn't Know What Rape Is
Oklahoma discovered this year that it was legal to rape someone orally if they were blackout-drunk and incapable of giving consent.
There it is again.
Here's the terrible story: A 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl were drinking in a park with some friends. The girl blacked out, and the boy took her home. When she woke up, she was in the hospital, nurses performing a sexual assault examination on her. They found the boy's DNA on her leg and around her mouth, and charges were soon filed.
But a judge threw out the case! And an appeal court ruling upheld the decision! And they were probably legally in the clear to do so!
The road to the bottomless chasm is paved with good intentions.
The problem was with Oklahoma's rape laws. Although sex with an unconscious person is definitely recognized as rape there, those laws didn't apply in this case, as it only involved oral sex. Forced oral sex is covered under a different statute, which has language which somehow doesn't consider the possibility of being drunk or incapacitated. Even legal experts who disagree with the ruling in theory agree that it was technically correct, given the antiquated wording of the state's laws.
There is some good news in this awful story: Lawmakers quickly amended the legislation to close this loophole. Obviously, this comes too late to matter in this case, ex post facto laws being what they are. But if any of you had any ideas about doing something especially heinous in Oklahoma, well, don't.
Don't do that anywhere.
Incidentally, Oklahoma isn't the only state with this kind of surprise lurking in its legal books. For example, spousal rape, although illegal in all 50 states, is handled differently in a few of them, which can make it almost impossible to prosecute sometimes. And Mississippi has no laws limiting rapists' parental rights, meaning rape victims can be forced to share custody with their rapists.
Which brings us to the larger point: Most of these laws never get fixed until another horrible crime happens. Which means some more heart-breaking stories like this are all but inevitable.
So bring on 2017.
Nimby Smith suggests looking up the laws in your state, and writing to your local representatives if you find them lacking. The RAINN hotline for sexual assault survivors is 800.656.HOPE (4673).
Also check out 24 News Stories Too Hopeful For The Media To Report Them and 5 Creepy News Stories That Aren't Getting Enough Attention.
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