News & Politics

Republican Lawmaker Not Sure Sex With Unconscious People Really Is Rape

As if "unable to give consent" isn't the very textbook definition of rape.

It seems yet another Republican lawmaker is confused about what rape is. In this case, Utah State Representative Brian Greene, while considering a bill that would ensure unconscious victims are protected under the legal definition of sexual assault, expressed a few concerns. Namely, his belief that there are special cases in which having sex with someone who is out cold might not really be rape.

“I hope this wouldn’t happen, but this opens to door to it,” Greene begins in a video of the hearing. “An individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious—or he, if that’s possible, I don’t know—a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape.”

Yes, indeed, a prosecutor could! Because that is literally and precisely how rape works. I’m not sure why we need to keep having this conversation.

Greene then went on to say that having sex with someone who is unconscious might qualify as rape “in a first-date scenario. But to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity."

By that argument, should you pass out in the company of a lover or spouse—or an ex, even—with whom you've previously had sex, it’s pretty much impossible to be raped. What’s that? You were literally too incapacitated to possibly be able to give consent? Greene still isn’t sure that qualifies as “rape" rape.

In any case, the Utah legislator came to his senses just long enough for the bill to pass by unanimous vote.

Watch the video of Greene wondering what rape is:

 

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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