A recent repeal on a 2005 sexual assault case has caused controversy in a Connecticut community, and brought forth yet another complicated issue one of this year’s hot button topics: Legitimate Rape.
Richard Fourtin, originally sentenced to 6 years in jail for the attempted second and fourth degree sexual assault on his girlfriend’s mentally challenged daughter, was released this week after an appellate court determined that she did not make a clear case for lack of consent.
L.K., as she has been referred to in the media to retain privacy, has cerebral palsy, and severe mental retardation. Her only means of communication is tapping her middle index finger, and her mental capacity has been stated to be “that of a 3 year old’s.”
The State Supreme Court deemed that she could have tried to stop the alleged attack by
‘using various nonverbal methods, including screeching, biting, kicking and scratching’.
and that her condition does not meet the legal definition of “Physically Helpless” which is stated as:
“a person [who] is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.”
What really protrudes from this story are these two main points:
1)That laws pertaining to those with a properly functioning process of deduction and communication are being held against someone who is disabled.
True Justice cannot be unwavering bullet-points. It it intelligent and compassionate, not unfair, to look at a firmly stated legal definition and understand that it is not scripture in regard to situation with a myriad of complication or particularity.
2)That the Court has taken the attitude of: “Well you should have done [insert simple solution to terrifying circumstance] so it doesn’t count.”
To say to a victim, whether disabled or not, that they didn’t make the right choice in one of the most horrific experiences anyone can encounter, is to ignore that the human psyche is infused with emotion. Many cases of rape have been turned away with this same sentiment from the Justice system, claiming that in these very intense moments- there was a clear way to handle it- and that simply is not how humans function when in fear. Most people do not have the immediate badass instincts prevalent in Jason Statham movies to get them through conflict.
NATION: Should there be a better system for deducing rape? If yes, how so?