Definition of rape is uncertain to some

Morgan Day

Two people consent to sexual intercourse.

One changes his or her mind during the act.

The other won’t stop.

Sophomore nursing major Spencer Wenger said, in cases such as this, neither the man nor the woman is more at fault.

“If that’s the case, and they’re in the middle of the act, it’s both people’s responsibility because they’re in the act together,” he said.

Wenger said if a male or female is willing to put him or herself in that situation, they both must realize they’re taking risks, and the female “just can’t blame it on the guy.”

However, since each case is unique, there are no “hard and fast rules” to determine whether this scenario would be classified as rape, said Detective Nancy Shefchuk of the Kent State Police Department. She said the outcomes of these cases may vary because each incident’s circumstances are different. Also, if the case is heard by a grand jury, the verdict depends on the jury’s judgment.

The outcome of a case “varies on the perception of the victim and what should’ve been known by the perpetrator,” Shefchuk said.

Shefchuk said many recent cases have involved people believing they were raped because they didn’t want to have sex, but they never let the other person know. She didn’t believe anyone committed a crime in some of these situations.

“(Both parties) need to be pretty sure that what they’re doing is wanted on both sides,” she said. “Take a step back and have a conversation. It’s certainly worth (having that conversation) in the end.”

Hilda Pettit, coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center, said confusion about whether a case is classified as rape is because it’s one person’s word against another’s.

“Lack of communication can lead to one person believing they have declined a sexual encounter when the other person believes they have the privilege of continuing,” Pettit said in an e-mail.

A poll posted on last Friday asked, “Should it still be considered rape if a person consents to have sex, but changes his or her mind after they start?”

Although the poll can only represent the opinions of Internet users and not the general public as a whole, the results were practically split down the middle.

Forty-nine percent of those who voted said the act was still rape, while 42 percent said the act shouldn’t be considered rape.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, “No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another when the offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force.”

“A woman or man can change their mind at any point,” Pettit said. “They only need to say ‘no’ clearly.”

Kimberly Eustache, sophomore biology and pre-med major, said it doesn’t matter if a woman consented at first – what matters is, at some point, she said “no.”

Nicole Davis, sophomore pre-med and biology major, said the issue is “kind of a toss-up.”

“If she consents to it in the first place, she’s sending him mixed messages as well,” Davis said, but added that a man should respect a woman’s wishes if she changes her mind.

Pettit said everyone has the right to be in charge of their own bodies.

“Sexual encounters are no different,” she said. “No one is entitled to use another’s body without permission.”

Contact safety reporter Morgan Day at [email protected].