Even the accusation of rape can have devastating consequences on your standing in the community and your future — and a conviction is much worse. Yet, most people don’t realize that the definition of rape is very specific in each state’s laws.
Knowing exactly how the Georgia law defines rape can help you avoid situations that could lead to problems — or, if you’re already facing charges, it can help you begin to address faults in the allegations against you.
Rape covers more situations than you might realize
Georgia classifies rape as an act that only occurs between a male and a female, so forcible sexual acts like rape between two men or between two women would be charged under a different statute.
Per statute, rape is defined as the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sexual organ forcibly and against the woman’s will or such penetration with a female who is under ten years of age. (Statutory rape, which involves a willing partner who is still under the legal age of consent is also a different charge.)
“Forcibly” does not have to mean you used physical violence or held the victim down. Merely threatening or intimidating someone into sex is enough to constitute force. “Against her will” can have many interpretations. For example, someone who is drunk, drugged, asleep or unconscious cannot give consent to sexual contact — and consent obtained through threats or intimidation is not consent at all.
It’s also important to note that there’s no exclusion for a spouse — marriage does not remove the possible charge of rape if a woman did not consent to sexual contact by her husband.
What should you do if you’re charged with rape?
The punishment for rape is very severe, so it’s important to consider your options carefully if you’re facing these kinds of charges. The wisest move you can make is to invoke your right to remain silent and contact a defense attorney immediately.