Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who Cannot Be Raped?

According to Teresa Carr Deni, a Municipal Judge in Philadelphia, prostitutes cannot be raped. The most that might happen to a prostitute who is gang-raped at gunpoint is that her services have been stolen. That's how I interpret Deni's decision that the recent gang-rape case of a prostitute was about "theft of service".

Zuzu writes about this case and so do Shakes and Violet Socks, and their coverage hits most of the important points.

This case reminds me of that earlier discussion about when date rape is not really rape but just bad sex, and the general concept that some rapes are more heinous in their impact than others or at least look that way to an outsider. But we already have concepts such as aggravated rape to use to capture any nuances that might be desirable.

The case also makes me wonder what all the sins are that we collectively assign prostitutes. There is an assumption that prostitutes have somehow consented to be abused and perhaps even murdered and that therefore the society is not responsible for awarding them the same protection other citizens deserve.