BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s called the “No Means No Law,” legislation that redefines rape in Maryland.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports, it puts an end to what supporters consider a miscarriage of justice.
New legislation changes the interpretation of Maryland law that if you didn’t fight back, it wasn’t rape.
The General Assembly took action against a condition of current state law that includes victim resistance in the definition of rape.
“What we are saying is when someone is passed out and a person gets on top of them and rapes them there should not be a jury instruction requiring that there be resistance but it’s currently in the statute and you have the power to change that,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger on February 8.
And they did.
“It’s very frustrating that what our law says now that there has to be force and one way you prove that is by physically resisting,” said Delegate Kathleen Dumais, democrat from Montgomery County.
“It shouldn’t be a no means I must fight back test, it should be no means no,” said Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Kamenetz testified in support of the bill. Advocates looked at county cases where it was concluded that rape had not occurred.
“And over a third of those cases involved situations where people were crying, they were saying stop, they were saying please no- but they didn’t kick, they didn’t hit, they didn’t push back and law enforcement said sorry m’am , that’s not rape in Maryland,” said Lisa Jordan of the Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The bill is now in the hands of the governor.
If signed by the governor, the new law would take effect in October.