Long-awaited sexual assault bill finally clears the General Assembly

At long last, North Carolina is no longer the only state in the country where a woman cannot revoke consent to have sex once sex has begun. After years of NCGA leaders killing bills to update North Carolina’s sexual assault laws, the legislation finally made it to Gov. Cooper’s desk last week.

  • Before this law was passed, if a woman initially consented to sex but the encounter turned violent, the man could not be prosecuted for rape — even if he admitted that she had clearly withdrawn her consent.
  • This law should have been a no-brainer, but majority leaders spent years blocking it in the General Assembly.
  • Thanks to legislative obstruction, law enforcement officers have declined to file charges in sexual assault cases and prosecutors have declined to prosecute. This legislation does nothing for the women who were unable to obtain justice thanks to the GOP.

Lawmakers should have to explain why they waited so long to close North Carolina’s sexual assault loophole, and why they spent years blocking this legislation until now.

Eleanore Wood

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