Justice

What Happened to This Woman During Sex Highlights an Important Point About Consent

January 15th 2017

By:
Laura Donovan

The recent rape conviction of a man in Switzerland opens up a larger conversation about why a person can be sexually assaulted even after consenting to sex.

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An unidentified 47-year-old French man was convicted of rape in Switzerland for taking off a condom without telling his sexual partner in a June 2015 encounter, the Independent reported Wednesday. The woman with whom he was having sex didn't know that he had removed the condom, and the court found that she would not have consented to sex had she known the condom was off.

This international story shows that a person can still be raped even after saying "yes."

Sexual assault is not just about saying "no" and being forced into sex. As writer Tricia Tongco noted in a May article for ATTN:, there are a couple ways someone can still be raped even after giving consent, and condom removal when a condom is expected is one example. "Glee" actor Mark Salling was sued by a former girlfriend in 2013 after she accused him of coercing her into having sex without a condom. He was not charged with rape, however, because the Los Angeles District Attorney found that the victim had too long of a delay before reporting the alleged incident.

Mark Salling

"When one person agrees to sex with the requirement of wearing a condom, and the other person doesn't comply — either through force or manipulation — that is not only a violation of trust but also a sexual violation," Tongco wrote.

Viktoria Kristiansson, an attorney advisor for AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women, told Tongco at the time that some jurisdictions have sexual assault statutes that "cover penetration associated with fraud":

"I think that's a pretty significant occurrence. ... I'd imagine she would be extremely upset, have to get tested for STIs. It's really traumatizing, time-consuming, and expensive, depending on the kind of insurance that person does or doesn't have — it's a big deal."