Rape by fraud: What it means and why it matters

Rape by fraud: What it means and why it matters

WASHINGTON, February 9, 2014 — In her recently published book, “Carnal Abuse by Deceit,” Joyce M. Short presents a persuasive case for the expansion and inclusion of rape by fraud across the penal code systems in the United States and uses her personal story as supporting evidence.

Simplified, rape by fraud is a crime in which the perpetrator presents him/herself as someone he/she is not through acts of deception and coercion culminating in non-consensual sex. Uncovering the deception and rape may take the victim many months, years and in some cases, a lifetime.

In Short’s case, her discovery took nearly 40 years.

“As I began to write,” Short explains, “I discovered that a crime had been committed against me, and that my son had been conceived in rape. Not the conventional form, but a kind that we rarely hear about, don’t recognize while it’s happening, and one that is rarely punished. I was determined to try to change society’s perception of this extremely common crime that renders victims emotionally bereft; a crime that had literally undermined my joy.”

Not only did Short’s ex-husband and father of her son lie to her when they first met in 1972 about his marital status, he lied to her about his religious affiliation, education credentials and military history–lies and deceptions intended to capture Short’s initial interests and attention and eventual sexual sanctity.

“Whenever someone lies about identity to seduce, they are a sexual impostor. You think you’re engaging in intimate romance, but in reality, you’re a rape victim. In addition, you’ve become the unwitting accomplice to the crime of adultery if the person lied about their marital status,” Short states.

At first glance, pursuing justice for this type of rape may seem petty and impossible to prove, especially considering the arguments against the inclusion of rape by fraud in the penal code Short details in her book:

  • Rape by fraud is too difficult to prove.
  • Rape by fraud is too widespread to be considered a crime.
  • Force must be present for rape to take place.
  • Rape does not occur when the victim gives consent.
  • Rape by fraud is only punishable if the victim is married.
  • Rape by fraud laws have an identity crisis.
  • Rape by fraud victims should know better.

Yet, in the advent of online dating and deceptive user profiles intended to reel in potential victims for sexual and/or financial gains, rape by fraud is an ever-increasing crime that too often gets dismissed and minimized, leaving victims searching for answers and blaming themselves for being victimized.

“While the act of rape may not directly end your life, the resultant sense of defilement can,” Short explains.

In addition to detailing her personal story, Short also addresses the neurological impact rape and deception have on victims and how our brains attempt to process and make sense of the betrayal, the most debilitating side effect associated with rape by fraud.

“People struggle for years, as I did, not comprehending why they feel devastated. Post Traumatic Rape Syndrome can set in.” Short continues, “A betrayal bond can form like toxic glue, adding further complications to an already complex problem. People who have been raped are thirteen times more apt to commit suicide than people who have not been raped.”

Although the detailed criminal acts perpetrated against her clearly point to rape, Short is very careful in her book not to come out and call her ex-husband a rapist.

“The State of New York does not recognize [my ex-husband’s] conduct as a crime,” Short notes. “When I succeed in implementing legislation to make that happen, I will write a 2nd edition that refers to him as the rapist that I believe he is.”

Despite the statistics, which claim 97 percent of all rapists never spend a day in jail and only 54 percent of sexual assaults are reported to the police, Short is determined to fight to expand the criminalization of rape to include rape by fraud. In recent months, she has reached out to government officials to elicit their support in hopes of igniting increased public interest and legislative action.

If you would like to support Short in her fight, visit her website and read “Carnal Abuse by Deceit.” Get the conversation started in your hometown and/or by sharing your reaction with your congressmen and others willing to speak out and help victims of rape and abuse receive the justice they expect and deserve.

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