No may mean no, but unless a woman can prove she was physically threatened into having sex, she can't prove she was raped, the state Supreme Court says.
The prosecutor in the case called the unanimous high court decision, issued last week, "a huge backward step for women's rights" that will likely have a major impact on future rape prosecutions in Pennsylvania.The ruling came on an appeal filed by a man who was convicted of the rape and indecent assault of a fellow East Stroudsburg University student in his dormitory room in 1987.
The ruling found that Richard Berkowitz did not rape the woman because rape implies force, and the woman made no mention during her testimony of even the threat of force. The high court did reinstate the assault conviction.
She said she went into Berkowitz's room looking for a friend and he closed the door, placed her on the bed and had intercourse with her.
She said she did not physically resist or scream and Berkowitz did not restrain her or verbally threaten her. But both testified that she had continuously said "no."
"Victims now better start kicking and screaming or there will not be sufficient evidence for rape," said the prosecutor on the case, District Attorney James Gregor of Monroe County.