Oklahoma’s court of criminal appeals decided to uphold a rule claiming that forced oral sex is not considered rape when the victim is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol.
The ruling came on Thursday, March 24, after a 17-year-old boy in Tulsa was accused by a 16-year-old girl of forcible oral sex. While at a park with other students smoking weed and drinking alcohol, the girl seemed unconscious and was unable to walk. Afterwards, the defendant took the girl into his car while she was still unconscious, according to The New York Times.
The defendant stated the oral sex that occurred between the pair was consensual, but the plaintiff told authorities that she had no recollection of the night after being at the park, according to the Oklahoma Watch.
“I think [the law is] completely outdated. It’s a completely unjust notion, and it shoves way too much blame onto the victim. It creates this assumption that women have to be in control of men’s actions.”
Junior Emma Sadinsky
When the defendant was taken to the hospital, still unconscious, tests showed that she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.341, which is more than four times the state’s legal limit for driving. On top of all of this, the defendant’s DNA was found around her mouth and on the back of her leg, according to The Guardian.
While some would view this as a form of rape, the summary opinion of the court read that “forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation.” The whole summary opinion can be found here.
Junior Emma Sadinsky said she was enraged when she heard about the court’s ruling.
“I think it’s completely outdated. It’s a completely unjust notion, and it shoves way too much blame onto the victim,” Sadinsky said. “It creates this assumption that women have to be in control of men’s actions, and it assumes that if a girl gets too drunk then anything that happens to her is her fault.”
The ruling claimed that because the victim couldn’t physically fight back, the unwanted act could not have been forced upon her. Though the ruling was a shock to the public, there are some who knew that this would be the outcome due to Oklahoma’s vague law. Oklahoma’s laws along with the rest of the country’s can be found here.
Sadinsky doesn’t believe that the law would have been interpreted the way that it was by anyone else and this is a specific circumstance of trying to blame victims.
“Although this probably wasn’t the intent of the court, it’s also a case of encouraging young boys in Oklahoma to act in the same way and encouraging them that they can get away with the same thing,” Sadinsky said.
So what do you think? Is this another form of victim blaming or is this just the result of an imprecise law? Sadinsky also had a challenge for Western: What are you going to do to get involved? Let The Western Front know what you think in the comments.