Socrates, known as one of the greatest philosophers in Greek history, was executed for his beliefs in justice and the pursuit of goodness. He opposed prevailing concepts such as “might makes right.” His teachings and politics were so foreign to the mores of the time, he was executed for corrupting the minds of Athens’ youth.
Back then, Greek laws considered “rape” a crime only when the victim was a female citizen in good standing. Sexual brutality toward a slave or a man was irrelevant. And the victim had to be a virgin. Rape was punished consistent with patricide, the murder of one’s father. The injustice was thought to occur to the head of the household, who owned her virginity, not the person who’d been defiled.
Our laws struggled forward from this egregious starting point. Centuries later, here in the US, each state created its own band-aide solutions as society’s morality shifted, with no consistent, state-to-state definition on what actually constitutes a sexual assault.
Ownership of sexual intercourse shifted from father to husband in the colonial US. Wives who were promiscuous were punished for adultery or fornication. But modern society no longer considers sex to be the property of a husband. Rather, our rape penal codes consider the sexual sanctity of each individual to be theirs and theirs alone.
Clearly, today’s ItsOnUs Pledge endorsed by President Obama, states the concept society recognizes as “rape”:
“Non-consensual sex is sexual assault!”
Socrates identified the harm in rape by fraud. He decried violent rape as a villainous act. He pointed to what he called “sex by persuasion,” as especially compelling because it:
“undermines the character of the victim.”
In our current era, hardly a soul would consider committing violent rape as anything but a heinous act. But yet much of society fails to acknowledge the insidious harm committed by defrauding a victim of sex. Socrates had it right; sexual assault by fraud, (his persuasion,) undermines the character of the victim!
Just as in any other form of sexual assault, rape by fraud strips away integrity and personal autonomy from the victim. And it does so by misusing the victim’s own self determination to harm them. It leaves them feeling culpable in their own defilement. The sense of disgust at oneself for falling prey to sexual intrusion creates oppressive feelings of vulnerability, serious depression…. and even suicide. Victims struggle with the thought that they can and will never feel safe again.
But are victims of rape by fraud culpable?
Not more so than any other victim who is defrauded of any other asset. In all cases of fraud the perpetrator:
- Knows they are lying,
- Intends for the victim to rely on the lie.
- The victim relies on the lie.
- The offender makes off with the victim’s valuables.
Fraud is a tool that offenders use to acquire what the victim would not otherwise give them. It is an unscrupulous act to deprive a person by manipulating their self-determination. The only difference between sexually assaulting a person by fraud, or stealing other assets, is the bounty the offender criminally usurps. And when that bounty is access to their most intimate, sexual core, the crime is rape.
Justice restores righteousness and integrity to victims
Marcus Tullius Cicero, ancient Greece’s most prominent orator, stated;
“Nothing that lacks justice can be morally right.”
Like Socrates, he was executed for his beliefs. For centuries, society has downplayed sexual sanctity by jerry-rigging peculiar constructs into laws that fail to give bodily integrity its due.
Considering the price the victim pays for this gross oversight, justice is a moral imperative!
Without laws to prevent this reckless and intentional act of sexual depravity, offenses will continue unabated, and countless victims will suffer. Rape by fraud legislation will prevent this moral black hole from quietly sucking society into its vortex. It will do so by recognizing every person’s right to protection from unscrupulous sexual acts against their body.
A million gadflies are needed!
Socrates was known as a “gadfly,” the fly that stings the horse into action for his attempts to set Athens on a path toward justice. I sincerely hope you’ll join me in becoming a gadfly to promote passage of sexual assault by fraud laws throughout the US, enabling justice to reach victims who suffer from this debilitating, insidious crime.
Here’s what you can do…..
- Join 50 Brave Women
- Write your local legislator and insist on their introducing Sexual Assault by Fraud law in your state.
- Contact any of the Legislators in NJ and tell them how important the passage of Assembly Legislation, #3908, is to you! You don’t need to be a New Jersey resident to express your opinion.