When we talk about date rape in my self-defense classes, I usually begin thusly:
Once upon a time, in a galaxy not at all far away, conventional wisdom said that rape was committed by lonely, horny guys. Such a guy would encounter a woman who dressed a bit too provocatively and acted a tad too flirtatiously, and “lead him on.” So of course he couldn’t control himself and whoops! his penis fell into her.
Little did I know that a judge in Manitoba was telling the same story! Except that Judge Robert Dewar was taking this tale literally when he declined to give a convicted rapist any jail time (the prosecution asked for 3 years incarceration). Why? Because he felt that “sex was in the air” at the moment and whoops! the poor guy couldn’t control it.
This article is a pretty good example of how sleight-of-mouth can downplay the gravity of the offense. For instance, defense attorney Derek Coggan stated that his client was just “insensitive to the fact that [the victim] was not a willing participant” in that night’s sexual intercourse. After all, no force was used, no weapon shown, and they were both drinking.
Last I checked, rape was defined as sexual penetration where one party is not a willing participant. Being an “insensitive guy” isn’t a crime. But being a rapist is.
The defendant will, however, have to write a letter of apology to the victim. Whew! I was beginning to worry.