Rape by Deception: A Discussion

A recent article in the excellent new site the Sisters Quorum talks about a situation in which a woman’s daughter, a victim of rape by fraud, is further traumatized in a series of interviews with her local leaders who are trying to gather additional information on the perpetrator and who don’t have much training or experience with the concept of rape by fraud.[1] It is a topic that isn’t well understood, and there are some reasons for that. The laws surrounding this crime differ by state, it overlaps with other sex crimes, and if defined too broadly, it can be difficult to prosecute. So let’s take a closer look.

First, what is rape by deception (aka rape by fraud)? Wikipedia says:

Rape by deception is a crime in which the perpetrator has the victim’s agreement and compliance, but gains it through deception or fraudulent statements or actions.

For Mormons, this is rendered more complex because while Rape by Fraud or Deception is a specific form of legal rape, it also may be a violation of the Law of Chastity (unlike other forms of rape). You didn’t consent to sex with the person you thought you did, but if you consented to extra- or pre-marital sex, even if your partner was deceptive, you may still have violated the Law of Chastity.

A Dialogue About Rape by Fraud

I had a discussion with a male friend about the concept of rape by fraud that will illustrate some of the difficulty in understanding the concept. I’ll call him David.

ME: So, specifically, I had a roommate at BYU who was from another country. She was only there on a student Visa. She was attending UVU, although we were in BYU-approved housing, and she was actively attending our LDS student ward. She met a guy who claimed to be a fellow student, even sat in some of her classes. They met up on a few dates, and things started to get serious. They were talking about marriage, and she was excited to get her green card and stay in the US. Things went too far on a few occasions, as they sometimes do, and she had sex with him a few times. She felt guilty and was going to repent.

Then she discovered that he wasn’t a UVU student at all. He was a married guy with 3 kids living in Orem who trolled the campus looking for vulnerable female students to “date” and have sex with. She was devastated by his deception, and eventually dropped out of school and went back to her home country.

That’s rape by fraud. She would never have in a million years been in a “relationship” with him otherwise, and the only thing he wanted out of it was sex. She wasn’t sexually active and was planning to save herself for marriage. He used his lies to get her to comply, and he had done it with other girls before as she found out. Plus, the dude looked like that Nazi who gets his face melted off in the first Indiana Jones movie.

DAVID: I would call it fraud but not rape. I think taking violence out of the equation will actually cheapen what rape means and will make it so that victims of both rape and fraudulent seduction are less able to get redress. The behavior is, of course, worthy of condemnation, I would just prefer a different term to describe it. To me, rape is one of the most terrible things that happens in the world and it is a violent crime that isn’t really about sex as much as it is exercising violent power over another person.

I look at this from a legal perspective and see a problem with calling lying to get someone into bed, ‘rape’.

“If I had known he was half Mexican, I never would have had sex with him. He raped me.” And off he goes to prison for maybe his whole life is a concern for me. Rape should be a big deal and rape by frauds seems to me to make it less meaningful.

ME: I worry about the term “seduction” in general which sounds slightly Victorian, like some guy with a handlebar mustache and waistcoat has behaved in an ungentlemanly manner.

I agree that applying the term rape to a non-violent situation can seem problematic; however, date rape is often non-violent. If you have been roofied, you’re going to be passive in the encounter. Depending on the drugs given, you might even “participate” with diminished capacity to resist. Is that not rape? Even without drugs, emotional coercion and “not taking no” can be rape even if it’s not outwardly violent. There can be internal abrasion and no physical signs of violence. That’s still rape.

Not all rape is equally violent. Elizabeth Smart (after her initial abduction) was passive to avoid violence and to get it over with. I think your example is not on point. Not revealing your race is not deliberate fraud or deception. Also, rapists are not jailed for the rest of their life (usually 10-15 years max, often out in 5-7).

I was looking it up, and was somewhat surprised that there’s precedent for rape by fraud (aka rape by deception) as early as the 1860s. It’s not a carte blanche defense.

DAVID: I think roofie in drink = violence.

ME: Then you’re being arbitrary in what you are calling violence. Roofie=medication used to strip away a victim’s objection. Deception=lies used to strip away a victim’s objection.

DAVID: I think physically making a person unable to consent is different than tricking someone into consent. Consent regretted is still consent that was given, if that makes sense.

ME: What you are getting at, and where this gets tricky is that from the church’s perspective, the Law of Chastity is still violated because the consent was obtained in a situation where the church says it’s wrong (e.g. not already married). Is it legally “rape by fraud”? Yes. Is it also a violation of the law of chasity? Perhaps yes. But that’s not true in other rape cases (although plenty of bishops have misapplied consequences to rape victims, and BYU even now kicks out a woman impregnated by rape).

This is why the church struggles to deal with the concept of “consent.” For one thing, female consent has largely been off the radar for the church as a patriarchal institution. In a patriarchal institution, marriage = consent, but since marital rape also exists, that’s problematic. The assumption in most patriarchal organizations is that the man will have sex if the woman doesn’t prevent it, so if sex happens, the woman is to blame. But if rape happens, the man is to blame, and the woman was wronged. We don’t do very well in the gray areas where a woman ostensibly consents but there are extenuating circumstances or where genders are reversed.

DAVID: In my example, pretend the person actively misrepresents race. Rape is punishable in Utah by 5 years to life and the length of time incarcerated varies but is accompanied in any instance by lengthy parole and sex offender registration for 30 years to life. It’s significantly punished. If your roommate had been beaten and forcibly taken by the con-man I would view that as worse than what actually happened (which was still bad–let’s be clear that I’m merely talking about degrees of culpability)

I like your last comment very much.
I am not personally saying the consent given under false pretenses was either right or wrong. I just think that it is consent given which is different by degree than sex without consent.
ME: You said tricking someone into consent is different than rape. I think you have to take Law of Chasity out of this conversation to understand it. Your dismissal of the concept seems tied to the idea that if you consent to sex under X conditions, you’ve consented to sex so consent is consent. But from real rape by fraud cases, here are some scenarios:
  • Woman A only wants to consent to sex with men. She is heterosexual. Woman B pretends to be a man, using prosthetic devices and other trickery to enter a sexual relationship with her. This case was judged to be Rape by Fraud.
  • A man is sleeping in the basement at his brother’s house. His brother’s wife has sex with him in the dark in the middle of the night, claiming to be his girlfriend. He would never have consented to sex with his brother’s wife, and he did not know she wasn’t his girlfriend since they didn’t speak. That was Rape by Fraud.
  • Likewise, I would consider my roommate’s situation to be Rape by Fraud (legally) but probably also a violation of the Law of Chastity, our rental agreement, and just basic good manners. [2] But she was certainly a victim and her circumstances merited more pastoral care than someone who just chooses to have sex.
  • Your example of actively lying about race (kinda, depending on whether you consider being Arab vs Jewish to be a race or religion question) actually happened. It was deemed Rape by Fraud by an Israeli court: https://ylpr.yale.edu/solving-riddle-rape-deception
The Barney Stinson Defense
Image result for barney stinson playbookIn the TV series, How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM to fans), the womanizing character Barney Stinson has a Playbook he uses full of elaborate deceptions to trick women into sleeping with him. Some of these are pretty far-fetched. For example, here are a few:
  • The SNASA: Barney goes up to a girl and claims he works for a secret government agency called “SNASA”, or “Secret NASA”, and claims to have been to the identically-named “SMoon”.
  • The Cheap Trick: Barney claims that he is the bass player of a rock band with the ironic name of “Cheap Trick” (a real-life band).
  • The He’s Not Coming: Barney goes to the observation deck of the Empire State Building (a rather romantic setting) and tells random women “He’s not coming” until one breaks down in his arms with the realization that their boyfriend isn’t coming for whatever reason.
  • The Don’t Drink That: Barney stops a girl from drinking a drink, and then claims that Ted slipped something in there, resulting in Ted getting tackled by the bartender. Barney gets to play the sympathetic hero and get the girl.

This is an ongoing trope throughout the series, and while his friends chide him for his manipulations, they also feel that any woman who falls for his lies is getting what she deserves. [3] Is Barney a rapist? Are they facilitating rape by fraud?

There’s a reason these types of cases are so tricky. Generally, these conditions have to exist:

  1. The fraudulent information has to be material to the person’s willingness to consent. Demonstrating that the person would not normally consent without those conditions is important to proving it.
  2. The perpetrator has to be intentionally giving fraudulent information. This is important to distinguish between normal relationships in which both parties may have questionable levels of commitment at different times as they work out their feelings. It’s not Rape by Fraud if they’ve talked marriage, then had sex, and then later one of them gets cold feet on the marriage.
  3. Establishing a pattern of predatory behavior is helpful to determine if Rape by Fraud occurred. Multiple victims using the same deception would make a stronger case.
This is hard stuff to prosecute from a legal perspective, but even more of a minefield in a Mormon context, because there is no case within the church where a someone can consent to sex outside of marriage without having violated the Law of Chastity, even if they did so because of fraudulent information unless they thought they were legally married to that person [4]. Even if the consent was given based on false information, giving the consent to anyone, real or imagined (unless you were led to believe it was your spouse), is the problem. And yet the victim of rape by fraud is also in a very vulnerable position, one involving manipulative coercion.
You can read more examples of actual rape by fraud here, here or here. Laws vary in the US from state to state and certainly by country as well, but the law typically prohibits these more or less clear-cut scenarios:
  • Impersonating a person’s partner (whether married or not) in order to gain consent.
  • Impersonating a doctor to trick someone into thinking sex is a medical procedure.

Some law makers would like to expand these laws to include many more forms of trickery. Even those who oppose rape by fraud may object to broadening legal protections, though, for a few reasons:

  • It increases the power of the state (police and prosecutors) to regulate the private sex lives of citizens.
  • It may result in stigmatization of vulnerable populations such as the transgender (5 convictions since 2012) or those with HIV (every state has prosecuted this specific type of case at least once), legally requiring disclosure to partners.
  • In many situations it may be difficult to distinguish between intentional deception and things like self-deception or aggrandizement.
    • Is it rape by fraud if a homosexual hides his sexual orientation because he hopes that heterosexual sex may be a “cure”?
    • Is it rape by fraud if a person’s portrayal of her financial situation is optimistically exaggerated to snare a mercenary-motivated partner?
    • Is it rape by fraud if a person remains in a sexual relationship while secretly cheating with another partner on the side?
  • The concept of rape by fraud makes sexual access a commodity or good that can be taken fraudulently, similar to other things that can be stolen. I’d prefer the term consent based on deception (similar to uninformed consent in contracts), but nobody’s really going to ask me.

A few questions for discussion:

  • Do you favor expanding the legal definition (and what is prosecuted) as rape by fraud or do you think the definition should be as narrow as possible? How do you think it should be defined for legal purposes?
  • What recommendations would you have for an ecclesiastical leader encountering rape by fraud? Should discipline reflect the victim’s situation and err on the side of mercy and healing? Do you think the manipulations associated with rape by fraud can or should result in full exoneration for the victim (from a church standpoint)?
  • Is it ever possible to get sexual ethics right since all human sexual relationships rely on mutual vulnerability?

Discuss, but gently as there are real victims of rape by fraud (whether by legal definition or colloquial) out there. It’s an important topic, but as with most issues surrounding human sexuality, it is a topic fraught with vulnerability.

********

[1] The post is interesting on its own merits, but not up for discussion here. The topic of today’s post is the concept of rape by fraud as a prosecuted crime, and how the definition is possibly expanding as society focuses more on affirmative consent.
[2] They had sex in our kitchen. Ew.
[3] In another episode, a random man Robin dates tries a maneuver he calls The Naked Man. When Robin is out of the room during a date that isn’t going well, he disrobes completely, and when she comes back in the room, the situation is so awkward that she agrees to have sex with him. This is a Playbook-style move, but not one that constitutes Rape by Fraud because, as its originator says, it only works some of the time, and he’s not actually giving her information that is material to her decision. These are people who are dating where the bar is low for consensual, non-committal sex.
[4] –which is BTW one of the most clear-cut types of rape by fraud (someone impersonating another person’s spouse).

Comments

  1. When I read the original Sisters Quorum article, I was admittedly a little troubled by the use of the highly charged word “rape” to describe something non-violent and something where a substance (alcohol or Roofies) or threats (Elizabeth Smart) were not part of gaining coerced consent. I certainly see all sides, but my personal feelings are with David– while this is absolutely wrong, deceptive, fraudulent behavior that should be prosecuted by law, the female victim also needs some form of accountability for her actual consent to the situation, albeit with appropriate amounts of compassion and understanding of the nuances of the deceit. Her steps towards “repentance” would rightly include seeking a counselor to process her victimization, which a Bishop could help her with by writing a referral to LDS Family Services. The bigger problem, for me, is the fact that women and young women are routinely grilled about their sexual behavior ALONE before male Priesthood leaders. For me, this is a place for parents to be present if the young person consents, and frankly, I think the Relief Society President, as stuard of the women in the ward, should take the place as the Judge in Israel designated for women– especially sexually vulnerable women who should not be re-traumatized (or heaven forbid, re-victimized!) by the vile minority of Priesthood leaders who are deceivers themselves. (And yes, I would definitely be comfortable applying the term “rape by fraud” to a Bishop who convinced a person seeking penance that sex acts with him are part of repentance because that is using authority and/or threats to coerce consent, similar to the doctor example given!)

  2. IMO, it is dangerous and wrong to let any question of the victim’s culpability in consenting to sex that we believe is immoral (whether there was a violation of chastity) play any role at all in deciding whether the victim gave adequate, informed consent (whether there was a rape).

    I also believe that an ecclesiastical leader dealing with such a situation needs to recognize the victim as a victim and emphasize that the victim does not bear responsibility for the rapist’s actions. Of course the victim is responsible for his or her own actions, which could be a violation of chastity, but that doesn’t make them responsible for what the rapist did. I don’t think we can make any judgments about what kind of church discipline, if any, would be appropriate against the victim for a violation of chastity. Such decisions would have to be made in context, depending on all the facts, and most importantly, at the direction of the Holy Spirit.

  3. A complex, and heartbreaking thing. It’s weird trying to figure out the delineation between rape and abuse. Do we not want to expand our definition of rape because it’s making the term too broad or it’s just uncomfortable to talk about at all? This isn’t at all new – just a better way to name what is/was happening.

    Fraud/deception/coercion is even more difficult to pin down, as it depends on the intents and knowledge of everyone involved, but I think i’d be predisposed to leniency toward the victim. Never understood why some leaders seem to want details of the sexual act, as it doesn’t seem pertinent. Maybe they’re looking for some ‘it wasn’t really sex if it wasn’t penetration” loophole. I don’t know. Doesn’t seem useful or helpful to anyone involved.

    I’m going to go have to spend some time reading statistics on how the world is getting better.

  4. jaxjensen says:

    I’m with David that many of the scenarios discussed are definitely a disgusting type of fraud, but not rape. Others clearly are rape like impersonating a spouse.

    I’m generally inclined toward less gov’t, so I’d be opposed to the broadening of laws in this area for the basic reasons you described.

    I think if you consented when you shouldn’t have that it IS a violation of the LoC even if fraud was involved. I think all discipline ought to be secondary to needed treatment, counseling, and period for grieving. I think the general church practice is to worry about the sin first, then the emotions. I think that it ought to be reversed and worry about the sin after the emotional well-being.

  5. Is it rape by fraud if a person remains in a sexual relationship while secretly cheating with another partner on the side?

    Sadly, I think this is probably a relatively common scenario. I had a friend who when she found out her boyfriend had been cheating on her said that she felt ‘violated’ in that if she had known he was cheating on her she would have never continued their relationship for the several months before she found out. As soon as she did, she immediately ended the relationship. She seemed genuinely distressed that she had been sleeping with someone for several months who wasn’t who she thought he was. I think there’s a genuine case to call that rape by fraud.

  6. John Mansfield says:

    “Rape by fraud” sounds like a useful concept, akin to statutory rape as having sex with a minor no matter how willing he/she is. The overall concept would be that there are various sorts of rape, taking wrong advantage of another sexually, with assault being only one kind of rape. The problem with this is the widespread desire to flatten things into a concept that “rape is rape,” all equally loathsome, instead of some being somewhat loathsome and others extremely loathsome. That flattening can even have the backlash of leaving some feeling that rape isn’t so bad. The reactions to equating Al Franken with Harvey Weinstein, as example.

  7. @James, I agree, adultery is rape and should be criminalized as such.

  8. Also, I’m cool with broadening the definition of rape to include all forms of post-coital regret. I feel raped when I consider the women with whom I would otherwise never have consented to sex but for the makeup, spanx, and the push-up bra they wore.

  9. Jack Hughes says:

    I remember hearing once on This American Life about how many fraud cases (usually financial fraud) go unprosecuted after the scheme collapses, because the victims are too ashamed of publicly admitting to being duped, and being labeled as gullible. This is even weaponized by clever perpetrators of fraud, who are able to use that fear to keep victims contributing to a scheme even after the victim knows it’s fraudulent. Unfortunately, this is equally applicable to rape by fraud. A sexual relationship under any kind of false pretense amounts to tainted consent, which I consider non-consent. Give comfort to the victim, and bring the perpetrator to justice. Punishing the victim with church discipline does not help here; the shame of being scammed is painful enough.

  10. Never before heard of “rape by fraud” so found the OP very interesting – the back and forth between David and Angela, and all the rest was informative and thought provoking. I think I would be opposed to much of a broadening of the definition of rape by fraud. I worry about how personal accountability figures into all of this. While some deceptions could rise to the level of criminality, would a broader definition just feed the into what seems to be an ever expanding sense of victimhood? Seems that it’s a basic human instinct to try to lay the blame on anyone or anything else if something bad happens to me. Of course, in lots of cases that’s true – someone or something else IS to blame for the bad thing. On the other hand, there seems to be a pretty dominant idea that even if I do something unwise (or even something I KNOW is risky or wrong) I not only can lay the blame it on someone or something else, but also that I get recompensed for damages to boot.

    In the case of the roommate being groomed by a scumbag, there should be a way to prosecute the scumbag for fraud but not for rape. The major fraud was his representation that he was available for marriage. The deception was devastating for her, but the sex was consensual. (Of course, this would be different if her capacity for consent was somehow compromised).

    To your question: “What recommendations would you have for an ecclesiastical leader encountering rape by fraud? Should discipline reflect the victim’s situation and err on the side of mercy and healing? Do you think the manipulations associated with rape by fraud can or should result in full exoneration for the victim (from a church standpoint)?”

    I think any ecclesiastical response to ANY person trying to repent for a breach of the LofC should be approached 100% with healing as the top priority and mercy as the governing principle. I would hope that’s always the case, but have heard of situations otherwise. However, in my limited personal knowledge of close family/friends’ experiences, a concern for healing, love and mercy were abundantly present in situations with very different results. In a couple of situations there was no official action (other than personal repentance) and in another situation there was excommunication (and also personal repentance). I have never considered the “no action” results as being an “exoneration” because the individuals accepted responsibility, and paid the price of personal repentance.

    Thanks again for such a though provoking post.

  11. The $64,000 Answer says:

    I can’t address the Law of Chastity side of things (Catholic here), but in general I’d be dubious about bringing this kind of deception under the ambit of the criminal law, for several reasons:-

    1. It seems to me to turn the clock back, in terms of the evolution of statutes against sexual violence, in an unhelpful direction. Over the years the Western world has been getting away from the notion of taking mens rea—that is, the offender’s state of mind—in sexual-violence cases. Having just closed that door, reopening it with a category of criminal law revolving entirely around assessing the perpetrator’s motives does not seem to me to be a good direction in which to go.

    2. In such cases, because of the subjective element described above (“what was he/she thinking, and why was he/she thinking it”?) there’s a much greater chance of the law and the courts getting it wrong, especially for defendants who are too inarticulate, too poor, or both to offer a sophisticated defense to the charges against them. (I imagine, given the way the world works, that racial and sexual minorities would be likely to find themselves in disproportionate numbers in prosecutors’ cross-hairs.) At the moment, it’s exceptionally difficult to obtain a conviction for sexual violence. That’s bad in all sorts of ways, but it does have one good (unintended) consequence: almost nobody, apart from the truly unhinged, questions that those who are convicted for rape are, other than in vanishingly rare instances, justly convicted. As we’ve already seen with the campaign against the death penalty—a campaign, for what it’s worth, that I support—it doesn’t take too many obviously wrong, or even unsafe, verdicts before the confidence of a lot of reasonable people in the reliability of the criminal-justice system starts getting undermined.

    3. As a practical matter, if impartially administered it will result in a significant proportion of female offenders, as well as male ones, getting a criminal record. Wilhelm’s second reductio ad absurdum above is precisely the kind of thing the OPs asked not to be included in this thread: and yet, notwithstanding the most unfortunate manner in which he expressed it, he does have a point. It might also place women in a variety of dangerous situations. If such a statute exists, many men will be in a position to claim that they would not have consented to sexual relations if they’d known that their female partner was married; had previously been treated for STIs; wasn’t on the Pill; had more than X number of previous sexual partners; wasn’t interested in having a long-term relationship with them, or innumerable other things. The potential for abuse—in other words, such a law becoming a blackmailer’s or a stalker’s charter—seems obvious, as does the problematic nature of the courts trying to decide ex post facto what non-disclosure of which facts are “material” or not in sexual-offense cases. Add to that the consideration that in the United States, at any rate, there is no uniform sexual-offense law, but a separate set of statutes for each of the fifty states. Immense difficulties are likely to arise when one jurisdiction (let’s say Utah) has an entirely different set of criteria for what constitutes “deception” from another (let’s say Nevada) just across state lines.

    4. Again as a practical matter, the correlation of the consumption of intoxicants and much sexual activity, and the fact that memories degrade over time, must surely make both the prosecution and the defense of such charges a nightmare. The first of these factors, I know, will, thanks to the Word of Wisdom, be less of a concern for LDS people, but in a typical college town it will loom very large indeed. How might one proceed in a case, perhaps years old, in which both parties had been drinking; neither can recall well, or perhaps even at all, what was said or left unsaid; but one is absolutely certain that he or she would never under any circumstances have consented to sex had he or she been aware of some particular fact to the defendant’s discredit—and therefore deception must have taken place?

    As noted by the OPs, prosecutions of this kind do take place elsewhere in the world: India’s, which haven’t been mentioned yet, seem to depend largely on judge-made law rather than anything in the Indian Penal Code. But nowhere have they been conspicuously successful. I’m not aware of anywhere in which rape by fraud is vigorously pursued by the law-enforcement authorities, making these statutes, where they do exist, not much more than dead letters.

    There can be no question that lying to get someone into bed is deeply unethical behavior. Not all unethical behaviors, however, can be, or ought to be, addressed by the criminal law. I believe this is one of them.

  12. It is amazing to see how quickly culture can shift. Watch Dr. No and you will watch Sean Connery’s James Bond commit what is now considered rape in the film, though it is portrayed as part of his “man’s man” character. Barney is the 21st century equivalent.

  13. Bro. Jones says:

    On the ecclesiastical side, provided that information-gathering is approached with delicacy and compassion, it seems to me that there are at least some situations where issues of the victim’s spiritual transgressions can be determined.

    A woman pretends to be a man’s (living, married) wife and, he has consensual sex with her? He thought he was having sex with his legally wedded spouse, which would not have been a transgression.

    A woman pretends to be single so that she can seduce vulnerable foreign male students, when in actuality she is married with children. A young man has consensual sex with her without knowing her actual situation. He knowingly chose to engage in sexual activity with a person who was not his spouse, so church discipline seems like it should apply.

  14. It gets interesting when we start throwing God’s laws (LOC) into the rape discussion. Let’s talk about young girls in Colorado City or Hildale who consent to having sex precisely because they believe God is commanding them to and then later find out they were being deceived. Is this rape by deception? Would this make God complicit in the act?
    To the point of the post, whether one is forcibly raped or raped by deception, in both situations the victim would be equally traumatized so I feel a lot of sympathy. I am sure someone who was saving this most prized possession God has given us all, namely our virginity, then made the choice to have sex before marriage is already feeling quite terrible inside. To find out later they were being duped into it would only add to the misery. I agree with Frank above about confession. Skip the details.

  15. This sounds a lot like the cases in the news recently, where two college students would have sex as part of a date, and the next morning the girl would regret her decision, rescind the consent she previously gave, and then report the guy to the school for rape. The guys education career is then destroyed until Betsy DeVos shows up.
    What if the guy was single, actually loved her, but changed his mind after having sex and honestly broke up with her. Is that rape by fraud?
    What if the guy was single, didn’t have much interest in her, and wanted to see how far he could push it before breaking up with her. Is that rape by fraud?
    What if the guy was single, was interested in her, once they had sex realized that he couldn’t control himself to make good decisions around her, and lied about being married with kids as a way to create a hard break between them. Is that rape by fraud?
    What if the guy was single, only intended to have sex with her, and then lied about being married with kids once his missions was accomplished. Is that rape by fraud?
    What if the guy was married with kids, had sex with her, and tried to get her to enter into a polygamous relationship with him. Is that rape by fraud? Eligible for a marriage in his eyes, not eligible in hers.
    What if the guy was married with kids, wanted to leave his wife and run away with the girl, had sex with her, realized he was making a bad decision, and then told her. Is that rape by fraud?
    If this situation isn’t seduction, but rape, then what’s seduction? When standing at the judgement bar, can I say “I don’t need to repent of that. Those weren’t sins; they were “transgressions by fraud.” If only Satan hadn’t frauded me into committing actions which I had been taught were wrong, I wouldn’t have done those things.” Is that argument going to hold up? What’s the purpose of all of those scriptures about overcoming seductions and temptations?

  16. jader3rd: Who said anything about not needing to repent?

  17. @JKC, that’s what we tell victims of rape. “You did nothing wrong, you have nothing to repent of.” So if the girl in this situation was raped, she has nothing to repent of.

  18. Also it is implied by the author.
    “Is it also a violation of the law of chasity? Perhaps yes. But that’s not true in other rape cases…”
    (the underline is mine, the perhaps implies that in may not be a violation )

  19. The underlining of the word perhaps did not come through, sorry

  20. Not a Cougar says:

    Ditto to everything $64k said. Anyone who is on board with prosecuting cases of rape by deception has apparently never assisted in the prosecution of a rape case. They are extremely, extremely, extremely difficult under the best of circumstances and there are no winners in the end. No other crime seems to cause jurors to immediately doubt the victim’s words and actions quite like the crime of rape (much ink has been spilled on the subject, and I do not intend to rehash those arguments here). Suffice it to say that I sympathize with those who have been taken advantage of by those who lie and deceive to obtain sex, but I would not expand the definition of rape by deception beyond what U.S. states have already done.

  21. FYI, the article you link to while claiming that BYU kicks out women who are impregnated by rape, actually quotes a BYU official as stating they would never kick a woman out of school for being impregnated by rape and gives no example of this ever happening. Also, your link was to an old article which was written before changes to honor code policy regarding sexual assault were implemented, so it doesn’t represent current policy.
    So, either you didn’t read the article very carefully, or you are purposely putting misleading information in your post. Either way, I really wasn’t interested in reading the rest of what you had to say after noticing this glaring lack of journalistic integrity.

  22. John Mansfield says:

    There are many kinds of homicide: murder (1st or 2nd degree), manslaughter (voluntary or involuntary), and even justified. Each has its own requirements to be proved for conviction and range of sentences for the guilty. Similarly, recognizing categories of rape other than sexual assault, such as fraud or improper liberties with minors, doesn’t have to change prosecution of sexual assault.

  23. Boy, this is some crazy talk, crazy parsing. What you call “rape by fraud” I call “sex by fraud.” It’s just simply not rape when there is consent. “Oh, I thought I was having sex with a nice unmarried guy, but I had sex with a bad married guy!!” I think you do us girls a disservice with calling that rape. I’m embarrassed for her. “Oh, I thought I was having sex with a Dr., but he was a garbageman!! Help me, I’ve been raped!” REALLY???

  24. If getting someone to give you money by deception is prosecutable, then why should getting someone to give you sex by deception be perfectly fine? Is not being intimate with someone more serious than just money? I am not sure I want to call it rape, but it is just as serious as financial fraud is. We should have laws that protect people from deception used to harm them, whether it is financial, sexual, or not informing a partner about having a sexually transmitted disease. Any time one person deceives another with the intent to do harm, it should be a crime that can be prosecuted.

    On the other hand, the girl who had sex thinking the man was available for marriage still willingly had sex. So, yes guilty of law of chastity violation, but still a victim of serious fraud.

    How should the bishop handle this? As if her being victimized is just as serious if not more than her loc violation. She has probably learned more about not having sex before marriage than anyone else the bishop will ever see.

    So, I disagree with those saying it should not be a crime and should just be the girl’s tough luck for being stupid.

  25. Left Field says:

    It might not be rape if you claim to be an astronaut when you’re not.

    But it sure seems like rape to me if you impersonate the victim’s partner.

  26. Jader3rd and Scott J: Did you read this? “[W]hile Rape by Fraud or Deception is a specific form of legal rape, it also may be a violation of the Law of Chastity (unlike other forms of rape). You didn’t consent to sex with the person you thought you did, but if you consented to extra- or pre-marital sex, even if your partner was deceptive, you may still have violated the Law of Chastity.”

    The point is not that a victim of this kind of rape gets a free pass for chastity violations. The point is that whatever responsibility the victim has for violating the law of chastity has nothing to do with deciding whether she is a victim of rape by fraud.

  27. To read Angela’s post as saying that a victim of this kind of rape never needs to repent of chastity violations is a pretty bad misreading. So bad that it’s hard to believe that a person advancing such a misreading has read the post, or, if they have, that they’re reading in good faith.

  28. Jader3rd and Scott J: Did you read this? “[W]hile Rape by Fraud or Deception is a specific form of legal rape; it also may be a violation of the Law of Chastity (unlike other forms of rape). You didn’t consent to sex with the person you thought you did, but if you consented to extra- or pre-marital sex, even if your partner was deceptive, you may still have violated the Law of Chastity.”

    To answer the first questions did I read it? Yes. I even could add it to my first example to help show my point. The phrasing “may be a violation of the law of Chastity” and “you may still have violated the Law of Chastity” both use the word “may”. The word “may” implies that something could apply or could not apply, it depends on the situation. The case used, the woman deceived by the married man, is a clear case of violation of the law of Chastity, she willing had sex with a person who was not her husband. There is no “may have” in this case.

    There are other examples from the article using similar wiggle words when talking about whether the woman was in violation of the law of chastity or whether a person was “raped” by Fraud would be in violation of the law of chastity. I think that it was one of the points the author was trying to convey. The underlining message I got was that “if rape by Fraud is true, then no violation of the law of Chastity is possible.” And the person has no need to go through any form of repentance. But because it is rape, counseling only would be required.

    Now let me make this very clear. I believe a person who is the victim of rape has not violated the law of chastity in any way and has no need of the repentance process.

  29. Angela says “X may be a violation of chastity.” And you think the “underlining message” is that X is never a violation of chastity? That’s not how words work.

    The point is that whether the perpetrator is guilty of rape by fraud and whether the victim is guilty of a violation of the law chastity are two entirely separate questions. Answering one does not answer the other.

  30. Let me give an example to demonstrate what I am talking about. Let’s take seatbelt law. I am going to write a law two ways. Then have an example of the laws in action.

    Seat belt Law 1: you may wear a seat belt when driving a car. (You could replace “may” with “could”, “should”, or “perhaps” to get the same effect)

    Seat belt Law 2: you shall wear a seat belt when driving a car.

    Now if you get stopped by a police officer, which of the two laws can the officer ticket you? Only Law 2.

    Now on to you point about perpetrator and victim. The use of the word “rape” brings into the situation a whole bunch of preconceived notations about the perpetrator and victim. And is the reason some people reading this are questioning the new term “rape by Fraud”. A more accurate term “sex by Fraud” (in my opinion) is what is described by the author, at least in the mind of some of the people reading the article.

    As to there being two entirely separate questions between the “perpetrator” and the “”victim”, I think I can agree. Whether the perpetrator is guilty of “rape by Fraud”, “sex by Fraud” or even seduction is an interesting subject of discussion (and much discussion has been done). The “victim” in this case is guilty of violation of the law of chastity, no “may”, “perhaps” or “could be”, about it.

  31. I still don’t see how you get “victims of rape by fraud never need to repent for violating chastity” from “victims of sex by fraud may need to repent for violating chastity.” The seatbelt hypothetical doesn’t help.

    Angela’s “may” is not setting a rule; it’s descriptive. A person that is a victim of rape by fraud may have violated chastity, but not necessarily. A person who willingly has sex with a person impersonating his or her spouse, not knowing that the impersonator is not actually his or her spouse, for example, is a victim of rape by fraud, but would not be guilty of violating the law of chastity.

    If you want to argue about whether getting consent by fraud should be called “rape by fraud” or “seduction” or “sex by fraud,” that’s semantics. I don’t feel strongly about it. States have all different names for the same criminal acts. The name, in my opinion isn’t very important. It’s what constitutes the crime and how it is punished that matter.

  32. Well apparently I can’t make my point clear. Sometimes that just happens in a conversation.

    We can disagree all day long on what Angela meant or didn’t mean. Only Angela can clear up any misunderstanding of her thoughts.

    I will give you the impersonator situation. It is a bit of a stretch to call it a realistic scenario, (and I know you never used the work realistic) but it is a possibility. I don’t think Angela had that scenario in mind for her article.

    I have no desire to argue, just a conversation between people, sharing thoughts and ideas about interesting subjects.

    Since we are the only two people left in the conversation. (I doubt anyone but us will ever read our conversation.) We end in a Monty Python type ending and say “Let’s call it a draw”

  33. I think she did have it mind, since she mentioned a variation of it: “A man is sleeping in the basement at his brother’s house. His brother’s wife has sex with him in the dark in the middle of the night, claiming to be his girlfriend. He would never have consented to sex with his brother’s wife, and he did not know she wasn’t his girlfriend since they didn’t speak. That was Rape by Fraud.”

  34. @JKC, being rape or not is pretty much the entirety of the point behind renaming seduction to “rape by fraud”.
    The way I read Angela’s use of the word “may” in regards to breaking the law of chastity, feels like a begrudging admittance that it’s probably true, but really doesn’t think that it should be true. The rest of the post pretty much depends upon it not being true.
    As for if this should be illegal or not comes down to how much we want government enforcing morality. I believe that a lot of progress in society has come down to giving up trying to regulate morality.
    Do I believe that the woman is still a victim in this case? yes. But more of a victim of being tricked, and not really a victim of rape.

  35. Where the rubber hits the road in the vast majority of these non violent (alcohol induced, deception, etc) cases is simply abstaining from pre material sex.

    All sex outside marriage is illegitimate in God’s eyes.

    I have little sympathy for someone who thought they were having consensual unmarried sex, who is later accused of rape. Their actions were focused on their immediate pleasure and desires with little regard for the fact that they are abusing the process through which life is created.

    Even in what society regards as the”best” of circumstances (consensual), if unmarried they engaging in behavior that is destructive to themselves, their partner, society at large, the children that can result and as a consequence future generations.

    My argument is powerful from a feminist and traditional perspective. Because you can always believe the victim without worry of he said she said. If sex indeed happened and she said it was rape, put him in jail.

    What this would do is drastically reduce the number of people having sex without some proper public testament that they are in a committed relationship (we used to call that marriage, but now marriage has become something that seems more focused on photos, dresses, cakes and parties than a committed relationship with a sexual foundation).

    I realize there are also issues within marriage to deal with, but if we merely stuck to the belief that all sex outside marriage is wrong and any accusation outside marriage it’s to be believed, we’d drastically reduce both rape and the suffering and damaged lives that comes from casual sex.

    There is no public good benefit of unmarried sex that outweighs the suffering that results from it.

  36. It seems to me that you are determined to misread the post. It does not in any way at all depend on it “not being true” that consent to sex outside of marriage is not a violation of chastity. Rather, it depends on separating the question of whether the victim is guilty of breaking chastity from the question of whether the perpetrator is guilty of rape by fraud.

    On the issue of whether we call it rape, I really don’t care. I agree that it’s a different kind of rape than what we might think of as traditional forcible rape, closer to statutory rape. But I don’t have a problem calling it rape because if what defines rape is whether there is consent, and consent was obtained by fraud, it’s the same as saying that consent was never validly given. Just like a minor can consent in fact to sex, but the law doesn’t recognize that consent as validly given.

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