Stop Victim Blaming- It’s Time to Pass the Consent Bill

Mar 26th, 2024

Silver Spring, Md., March 26, 2024 — The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) continues to advocate for the Consent Bill moving through the General Assembly this legislative session.  The House of Delegates has passed the bill and it now sits with the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee.

Members of the Committee heard from survivors failed by the current law. Here are some of their stories.

KC was 17 years old.  She submitted testimony to the Judicial Proceedings Committee:

“'C' and I went to a room and proceeded to have consensual sex. After a few minutes, he left the room. The room was pitch black with only the hallway light on. At this point, I was asleep but woke up to the door opening again a few minutes later. I felt a naked body lay on top of me. Thinking it was male 'C,' I then proceeded to get under the covers and have sex. What I did not know was that the naked body was not 'C,' it was 'R.' A boy I had never met. A boy I had not ever spoken with, let alone permitted him or given him any indication that I wanted to have sex. (which we did, full penis penetration)."

KC went to the hospital and had a rape kit performed. She reported what happened to the police. The prosecutors wanted to seek justice for KC, but KC didn't fight back, she didn't resist - she thought she was in a room with the boy she knew. 

The law failed KC because even though she did not consent to sex with the boy penetrating her - there was no "force." She didn't resist. The law says to the victim: you didn't respond, you didn't resist. The law failed KC.

RJ was 18 years old. Her mother spoke on her behalf:

My name is Jennifer J and I am speaking on behalf of my daughter RJ.

RJ was a patient of the pediatrician since she was one week old and continued to see him throughout her 18 years.  RJ developed anxiety and sought advice and medication for treatment.  RJ confided in her doctor...and shared with him the struggles she was having as she felt comfortable and trusted him.

I always attended RJ’s doctor appointments, however I was stuck at work and unable to attend.  RJ indicated it was not a big deal as the appointment was a routine prescription check that would only be 5-10 minutes long.

The appointment started routinely with vital checks and questions about how the prescription was making her feel and then the doctor told RJ to lay down on the examination table.  RJ was uncomfortable and did not expect this and she started to experience an anxiety attack. The doctor kept talking to her about nonsense topics all the while putting his hands in her pants and touching her lower abdomen and then lower to her vagina where he digitally penetrated her.

RJ never at any point gave the pediatrician consent.

During the trial the judge found RJ extremely credible but found the doctor not guilty of 2nd Degree Rape because under Maryland law in order to find guilt there needed to be proof of force.

I am writing this because RJ is not mentally able to discuss, relive and experience the trauma again.  As she now has fear of going to doctor’s offices and of doctors RJ is no longer pursuing a career in the medical field and struggles with panic and anxiety attacks on a daily basis.

Please remove the force aspect and codify consent and please vote favorably to give my daughter and other rape victims hope for justice in the future.

RJ had a natural physiological response. She froze up and didn't resist.  And the law tells her and other rape survivors like her: you didn't respond, you didn't resist.  The law failed RJ.

Maryland needs to stand with survivors. We cannot continue failing survivors like KC and RJ.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hold a hearing on the Consent bill on Thursday.  MCASA is asking the senators to adopt the same amendments as the House and issue a favorable report on Senate Bill 758 and House Bill 496.

MCASA is the federally-recognized state sexual assault coalition responsible for certifying comprehensive rape crisis/sexual assault programs to ensure services are survivor centered. MCASA's core members are the State's 17 rape crisis centers, and the Coalition also represents the voices of many other member professionals, programs, and service providers working with sexual assault survivors. MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), which provides direct legal services to victims of sexual violence across the state of Maryland. MCASA is the leading public policy advocate for survivors of sexual assault in Annapolis and more information about 2024 legislative priorities and services for survivors can be found at


Press Contact:

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director and Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
[email protected]

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