Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Man Put on Trial for Rape Even Though the Woman Was an Enthusiastic Participant to Sex

A 19-year-old wren, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted she returned willingly to the naval base with two sailors -- her lover, leading Artificer Greg Robertson, 22, and his friend, Engineering Technician Kenni Dinnell, 21, who was staying with Mr. Robertson. The wren proceeded to have consensual sex with Mr. Robertson while Mr. Dinnell was in the bathroom. After she had sex with Mr. Robertson, Mr. Robertson fell asleep on the floor. Mr. Dinnell came back in the room and said he shared the bed with the woman fully clothed as there was nowhere else to sleep. He claims she awoke and they had consensual sex. She kissed him passionately.  But when Mr. Robertson, sleeping on the floor, awoke halfway through the sexual encounter between Mr. Dinnell and the the wren, the wren appeared uncomfortable.

When it was over, the wren claimed she had mistaken sailor Mr. Dinnell for Mr. Robertson because both men have Scottish accents. She accused Mr. Dinnell of rape, and the case was adjudicated by a navy court martial. The wren said she blamed herself for drinking too much.

Yesterday, Mr. Dinnell was cleared of rape by the court martial.  Read about it here.

The judge's remarks were stinging:  "This is the sort of case which in my opinion should never have come to court. There cannot be any higher consent to sex than enthusiastic participation in it. She responded for a few minutes to the defendant’s sexual advances. She felt him kissing her neck, kissed him on the lips and then allowed full sexual intercourse to take place. If the defendant genuinely believed she consented, even though that belief may have been mistaken, he is not guilty of rape. She said she blames herself and she must share that responsibility.

"I do not criticise the prosecution because we live in an atmosphere and era that makes it very difficult for the police and prosecuting authorities not to prosecute allegations of this nature."

This case is typical of the cases we deal with on this site: a "he said/she said" rape claim triggered by a night of drunken sex between young people.

The dynamics here are mind-boggling and disconcerting: a man is sleeping on the floor, and his lover and his friend are having sex in the bed nearby.  In terms of the scenarios where the likelihood of a false rape claim is enhanced, this one is off the charts. See here.  But our mission is not to pass moral judgment. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.

The woman was not unconscious when she willingly participated in sex. Could she legally consent? At what point in a drunken fog do people lose their ability to consent to sex? There is no mistaking noon from midnight, but at what point does twilight become darkness?  And, how on earth is a court supposed to figure this out after-the-fact?  Given the murkiness surrounding sordid affairs of this nature, won't there always be a reasonable doubt as to whether a rape occurred in cases like this? And if so, why was this one brought to trial?

Such is the age we live in, where feminists tell women to "party like the guys," even though studies show women have much greater after-the-fact regret than men.  And men seem utterly clueless about this regret asymmetry that separates the genders -- about how sometimes a woman's feelings of regret are translated into feelings of "being used," and sometimes feelings of "being used" are misinterpreted or purposefully misconstrued as "rape."

These scenarios involving drinking and sex play among young people who are not in a committed relationship are a no-win for both men and women.  Isn't it time we started demanding that our young people deal in a more mature way with drinking and sexual urges, instead of expecting our courts to see through the murkiness and figure out after-the-fact something that is impossible to figure out? 

I refer our readers to this post: The elephant in the room that feminists and men's rights advocates ignore ignore.