Do All of Your Clothes Have To Be Off for It To Be Considered Rape?

Brock Turner in his mug shot
Brock Turner in his mug shot
Photo: Santa Clara, Calif., Sheriff’s Department

The state of California has laws that prohibit the unwanted touching of another person’s “intimate parts.” Per the California penal code, those parts include the “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.” To violate the statute constitutes sexual assault, and a sexual assault that leads to “non-consensual intercourse” with a victim is charged as rape.


In order to prove the case for sexual assault and/or battery (rape), the prosecution must prove that the victim was touched on their intimate parts while being restrained by the defendant or another person; that this contact occurred against the victim’s will; and that the defendant intended to do so with for the purposes of sexual gratification, sexual arousal or sexual abuse.

On Jan. 18, 2015, Brock Turner—who was 19 years old at the time— sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the campus of Stanford University. The assault was stopped by two men who happened to ride by on their bikes, saw what was going on, and tackled Turner and held him down until police showed up.

Turner was convicted of the sexual assault, but in the greatest miscarriage of justice ever, he was sentenced to just six months in jail in June 2016 by then-Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky. Persky said at the time, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”

Persky has since been recalled as a judge.

The sentencing was so egregious, California legislators passed new laws that not only created mandatory sentences for sexual assault offenders but also expanded the legal definition of what qualifies as rape.


Since that time, Turner has literally become the textbook definition of rape. You would think that would make the 22-year-old stay-at-home son who is required to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life take his ‘L’ in silence, but you would be wrong.


Instead, he is appealing his conviction.

Eric Multhaup—an attorney for Turner—argued in court on Tuesday that his client never intended to rape an unconscious woman, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Multhaup contends that because Turner had his clothes on (his victim was half-naked), he couldn’t have possibly meant to rape the young woman known only as “Emily Doe.”

I’ll allow you some time to read that again, as I am sure you are just as incredulous as I am. The appellate court justices were in disbelief as well, and one of them—Justice Franklin D. Elia—said as much in court.


“I absolutely don’t understand what you are talking about,” Elia told Multhaup.

Assistant Atty. General Alisha Carlile called Multhaup’s narrative a “far-fetched version of events” that didn’t support the facts of the case.


The appellate panel has 90 days to render a ruling in the case.

I’m guessing Brock and his white privilege better get used to sleeping in his childhood bedroom.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.



Ms. Judge, you’re burying the lede: According to Turner’s attorney, his client never intended to rape his victim, as he wasn’t seeking to have intercourse with a non-consenting partner—rather, the fact that he had his clothes still on proves that he only sought “outercourse.”

And y’all thought “affluenza” was the benchmark for lawyer-spawned semantic bullshittery.