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DeltaV

Rape by fraud?

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I think we all agree that deception (including non-disclosure of anything significant) to increase your chances of sex is unethical, always, except for a few white lies to be polite.

 

So, recently thanks to the British tabloid press this bizarre case of Gayle Newland came to my attention. The amount of deception she managed to pull of is astonishing...

 

She tricked her girlfriend into thinking she was a man and penetrated her with a strap-on dildo. I don't know how this could work, but well... And the British legal system has now finally decided in her retrial that this wasn't just unethical behavior, but criminal.

 

I guess this stuff is just decided on an inconsistent ad-hoc basis. Does Gayle Newland deserve to be sentenced to probably some significant prison time – the original sentence was eight years?

 

I think that some deception could indeed be sanely classified as criminal behavior. But a lot of bad manipulative behavior like pretending to be interested in a romantic relationship ... how can this seriously be something where criminal law is involved?

 

So what do you think about deception in the context of sex? When should it be criminal?

 

And while in a perfect world, we would all just be totally honest, how much condemnation does somebody deserve who isn't?

 

For example, pretending not to be a virgin, lying about your country of origin, your sexual orientation etc. is not the same as lying about your HIV status (though that's even legal in many countries, I think that it is highly unethical). In some of the lesser cases it seems more like dodging prejudices, though there's still a not so noble motive behind it.

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(warning, ace ahead) To me at least, if you conceal or actively lie about something that would have affected someone's consent then I think that's pretty much the only line that makes sense. Anything else is pretty arbitrary. This also probably needs to be coupled with some sort of anti-discrimination thing but I'm not sure how to make that work and still protect people who just don't want to have sex with certain people, eg. in this case a heterosexual woman who doesn't want to have sex with other women.

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Obviously the deception Gayle Newland pulled off was pretty serious (and she tried it with another woman, too), but one could construct tons of examples when consent depends on minor issues and it seems very extreme to make such conduct illegal. It's probably common for married people to claim that they're single if they have an affair and it's plausible that some people wouldn't have consented if they knew the truth. But do you really think this qualifies as “rape by fraud” or should be illegal?

 

There is another line, which is far more serious, which is being tricked into a sex act different from the one to which one has given consent. And Gayle Newland crossed that line, too.

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57 minutes ago, DeltaV said:

It's probably common for married people to claim that they're single if they have an affair and it's plausible that some people wouldn't have consented if they knew the truth. But do you really think this qualifies as “rape by fraud” or should be illegal?

 

Yes, I do believe that constitutes "rape by fraud". It's the only logical way to define it that I can think of. But as with all crimes, the punishment needs to fit the damage caused by the individual act. In the original example of Gayle Newland her victim is obviously quite distraught. In the case of a cheating spouse who lies about their marriage status there is little to no emotional harm... unless they get caught together, and suddenly it can be very distressing again, even life threatening depending on the disposition of the spouse who was cheated on.

 

It's also worth saying that just because something is common doesn't make it right.

 

57 minutes ago, DeltaV said:

There is another line, which is far more serious, which is being tricked into a sex act different from the one to which one has given consent. And Gayle Newland crossed that line, too.

 

Yes and that should definitely be judged separately because this is a big problem as well.

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My mom the lawyer says that the dividing line is lying about your identity, as opposed to your actions or characteristics.

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Okay, second try. I removed my last post because it was just too confused.

On 7/8/2017 at 4:58 AM, Ettina said:

My mom the lawyer says that the dividing line is lying about your identity, as opposed to your actions or characteristics.

Yes, that's how it is in the US, and presumably in the UK.

 

The question is: should one change (expand) it? I'd rather not want to go there, or at least not remotely as far as Momo suggests, otherwise we end up with cases like this.

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