Maryland’s highest court ruled that a man can be charged with rape if he ignores a woman’s calls to stop – even if she had previously consented to sex, the Baltimore Sun reports. With this expanded legal definition of rape, Maryland joins seven other states whose courts have determined that a woman can revoke her consent after intercourse begins. “This goes to the heart of women’s autonomy,” said Lisae Jordan of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “It says that, yes, women do have the right to make decisions about something as intimate as sexual intercourse.”
The Maryland Court of Appeals’ opinion overturns what defense attorneys and a lower appeals court said was existing common law and the high court’s own 1980 opinion. Yesterday’s ruling returns the 2004 rape case of Maouloud Baby to Montgomery County for a new trial. Mel Feit of the National Center for Men, based in Long Island, N.Y., said, “There is no way that anyone is ever going to convince me that a five-second delay is first-degree rape. This is a dangerous ruling, What the court is saying is that every act of sexual intercourse in Maryland is potentially a rape, and if a man doesn’t stop on a dime, he’s going to jail.” Women’s advocates said the ruling was important because it makes clear that Maryland no longer relies on outdated common law in rape cases.