NC lawmakers again file bill to close rape law loophole


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina is still the only state in the country where “no” doesn’t really mean “no.”

CBS 17’s Kelly Kennedy first reported on this law in 2017.

It deals with consent and stems from a state Supreme Court decision in 1979.

CBS 17 doesn’t usually identify the victims of sexual assault but 20-year-old Aaliyah Palmer has been open about what happened to her.

“I went in a big huge downward spiral,” said Palmer. “A lot of depression, anxiety, I dropped out of school. So I lost like $30,000 in scholarships.”

Palmer was a student at North Carolina State University.

She claims she was raped two years ago at a party near Fort Bragg.

She admits she initially consented to having sex with a man she met that night, but says things turned violent and she told him to stop.

She says it went on for two hours, despite her repeatedly pleading with the man to stop.

“You feel really, really alone and everybody just looks at you super weird like it’s just a waste of their time to even bother with it,” said Palmer.

Palmer tried to file charges, but her case was dropped because of a state law from 1979 that says once a woman consents to sex, she can’t take it back after sexual intercourse begins.

“My case is over and done with,” said Palmer. “I don’t have the emotional capability to continue to deal with it, but I don’t want to see this happen to other people because it’s really draining and it really messes up your life just knowing that a law isn’t on your side from the second something like that happens.”

CBS 17 spoke with Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) about this two years ago.

He has now filed a bill for the fourth time to change this law. Sen. Danny Britt (R-Columbus) is also a primary sponsor. 

Click here to read SB 563

“You know we’re really not sure why this hasn’t passed,” said Jackson. “It hasn’t received a lot of public opposition, what I think what’s happening is it’s about sex and that just makes people a lot uncomfortable. What they haven’t realized is what’s controversial isn’t passing this. It’s not passing it and allowing this loophole to remain in our law, that’s what’s unacceptable.”

Jackson says he’s hopeful that this will be the year the “Right to Revoke Consent” bill finally makes it to committee.

“Before I came to the General Assembly, I was a prosecutor and we tripped over this issue in my office as a prosecutor,” said Jackson. “I remember thinking then, if I ever make it to the general assembly one day, I’m gonna fix this.”

This bill must pass at least one chamber by May 9 or it’s ineligible to be voted on for the rest of the session – that’s why Palmer is still telling her story.

“If I have to be the one to speak up than I’d rather do that for others than to stay quiet and let this bill fall again and be ignored again,” said Palmer.

Jackson says he’s not sure why this hasn’t passed yet because there hasn’t been much public opposition to the bill.

“I think it would make every woman in North Carolina feel a little safer that they have that right to revoke consent because the fact that we don’t is pretty ridiculous,” Palmer said.

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