Consent & Rape
"Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused" - Freda Adler
What is the "Age of Consent?"
The age of consent is the age at which a young person is legally able to agree to have sex. Until you reach this age it is illegal for somebody to have sex with you.
In Minnesota, the age of consent for sex is 16. This means that as long as both partners are older than 16, any age difference between them does not matter. Regardless of the age of the perpetrator, it is always statutory rape in Minnesota if the victim is under the age of 13. If a person under the age of consent is between 13 and 16 years old, they can legally consent to sex with someone that is less than 48 months (4 years) older than them.
Why is sex below the age of consent illegal?
Age of consent laws is there to protect young people from being sexually exploited by adults. Although some people under the age of consent may feel that they are mature enough to engage in a sexual relationship, others may lack the emotional development to deal with this or to feel confident enough to say 'no'.
What is statutory rape?
Statutory rape is a crime that someone can be charged with if they have sex with a person who is younger than the age of consent (16) even if that person agrees to have sex.
So What is Consent?
Consent is words or actions that show that someone really wants to do what they are about to do. Consent applies to a wide range of physical and sexual touch.
What kinds of sexual activities do you think you need consent for?
- holding hands
- touching or rubbing under or over clothes
- being fully or partially naked with or in front of each other
- sending fully or partially nude pictures (sexting) of ourselves or someone else
- vaginal and anal penetration
- oral sex on males or females
- watching someone masturbate or touch themselves.
Each activity needs to have clear consent from each person involved every time. If you want to touch someone or be sexual with them in a non-touching way, it is your responsibility to make sure you have the other person’s consent. It is not the other person’s responsibility to have to say no or yes once you start though they have the right to do that or even change their mind part way through if they want. The responsibility of consent falls on the person who is initiating the touch or activity.
So What is Rape?
Rape is the threatened or actual use of physical force to get someone to have sex without giving consent. Rape is usually motivated by a combination of power, anger, and sexual desire. When rape is committed by a person unknown to the person being raped, power and anger are usually the motivating factors.
Acquaintance rape is rape in which the rapist is known to the person who is raped. Date rape is rape that occurs in a dating situation. These two terms are often used interchangeably. In these cases, the motivation for date rape is often sexual desire. In other cases, it is the desire to control. Date rape is more likely to be an impulsive act rather than a planned activity.
Why Alcohol and Other Drug Use Increases the Risk of Date Rape
- Drinking alcohol or using other drugs increase the likelihood that you might be in a risk situation. Using ATOD causes a person to not think clearly and can result in putting one's self in a risky situation that might not normally get themselves into. Some examples would be leaving a party with someone you don't know, or going to someone's home when their parents aren't home and hanging out int their bedroom. These situations make id more difficult for a person to defend themselves from sexual advances or rape.
- Drinking alcohol or using other drugs interfere with judgement. For example, a person has a strong desire for their partner they are dating. The partner sets clear limits for expressing affection and says No. However, this person has been drinking and is unable to think clearly and respond in an appropriate way. This person does not respect their partner's response. This person rapes their partner because their judgement is impaired.
- Drinking alcohol and using other drugs intensifies feeling and the need for control. Date rape is an act of violence. A person who is a rapist often has an increased need to control their companion. They are also more likely to act upon that need after using ATOD.
Important note: Drunkenness or being high on drugs is not a legal defence against date rape. In other words, if a person has been drinking alcohol or using drugs before they commit a rape, this is not a legal excuse. They have still committed rape.
Date Rape Drugs
Flunitrazepam (or Rohypnol) is an odorless, colorless sedative drug. It is often referred to as "roofies". This drug is ten time stronger than valium, which is a tranquilizer. Like alcohol, it makes some users fearless and aggressive. It is can cause blackouts, with complete or partial loss of memory.
Other Date Rapes Drugs:
- MDMD (Ecstasy)