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15 October 2007 @ 03:27 pm
A legal/moral conundrum recently in the news (via Broadsheet)

A philadelphia area prostitute had just finished a transaction with one man, when he asked if she would service a friend of his.  She agreed in exchange for $100.  However, not one friend came, but 5.  And she didn't get $100, she got a gun to the face.  She was crying by the end, and the 5th did the decent thing, and instead of having sex with her, he helped her escape.

She sued them for rape, but the judge dismissed all accounts.  According to the judge, it was simply theft of services (which, as a prostitute, you don't have much recourse).

In this case, I completely disagree with the judge.  Sexual consent is one of those things that can be rescinded at any time or any reason, no matter what was said before.  I imagine that consent was rescinded the second she saw the gun.  She agreed to sex, but changed her mind.  Since "no" was the answer when it happened, that still counts as rape.

Secondly, there only was agreement for sex with one additional person.  If I agree to have sex with you, that agreement does not carry over to the rest of your football team, your frat, your roommates.  Its a one-on-one decision.  Therefore, if the judge wanted to ignore the fact that you are allowed to change your mind, there are still 3 other people who never got your permission.

However, lets alter this situation to one that probably happens a lot in the real world.  Man finds prostitute and a fee is established.  Transaction takes place, and instead of paying her, the guy laughes/kicks her out/refuses payment.  Consent continued through the end of the sexual act.  The client is clearly a bad person for doing that, but is he a rapist or just a thief?  Can permission be rescinded after the fact when a prior agreement isn't fulfilled?
(Anonymous) on October 16th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
Actually, I'm confused about the "theft of services" part. A contract to perform an illegal act is invalid, so you can't steal something that it's illegal to sell. Sounds kind of like the judge was making a sick joke.

And in your hypothetical, the guy is neither a rapist nor a thief under the law, although I'd say he's morally guilty of theft.
Maryvigilantics on October 16th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
Oops, was me.
Samsamtaro82 on October 16th, 2007 07:19 am (UTC)
See, this is why prostitution is legal over here. Things are regulated, and the women get health care and benefits and all that. Not that there isn't still a lot of illegal trade and bad stuff that goes on, but it's a whole lot less than it would be if it were illegal, as far as I know. At least they have some rights.
Rachelfianasylph on October 16th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
I agree, I think it should be legal in the US, not only because of the health benefits, but it would get rid of the need for pimps and other abusive aspects women face.

But yeah, the judge was playing the moral outrage card... it didnt help that she did interviews afterwards talking about how this discredits rape cases everywhere and how prostitution is evil. Objective much?