'No doesn't always mean no': NC law allows men to rape even if partner revokes consent during violent sex
Jonathan Wayne Guy (WRAL/screen grab)

A loophole in North Carolina law prevents women from revoking consent during sex even if their partner turns violent.


When Amy Guy's estranged husband, Jonathan Wayne Guy, showed up drunk at her home in December, she decided consenting to sex was the "safer" option.

"Since he was getting angry, I figured it would be better to go ahead and agree to the sex because I figured that was the safer thing for me to do," Guy told WRAL this week.

When the sex turned violent, Guy said that she begged him to stop. But he refused.

Guy reported the crime and her husband was charged with second-degree rape. But the charge was later dropped due to a 1979 North Carolina Supreme Court case which ruled that consent cannot be revoked once sex begins.

Guy's husband was convicted of a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault on a female and was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

"I was devastated. I didn't understand how that could be because I knew I had been raped," Guy explained. "I don't understand how the law can say that I wasn't."

Guy said that she came forward to speak out against the legal loophole.

"I hope other women get the protection they need," Guy remarked. "I hope we can change the law. It's not right."

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman agreed that the law needs to be changed.

"We firmly believe that people should have the right to revoke their consent," Freeman insisted to WRAL. "Anytime someone no longer wishes to be involved in a sexual act ... they have the right to withdraw that consent and the right to revoke that consent."

Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson is sponsoring a bill to change the law. But Republicans, who control the Senate, have refused to give the measure a vote.

"We're the only state in the country where no doesn't mean no," Jackson pointed out.