Occidentalism
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A case of rape or mistaken sex?

April 30th, 2006 . by Matt

bondi rape
The scenic beachside suburb where the alleged rape took place

This is a very wierd case (not far from my home, as a matter of fact). A man in Sydney claims that he went into the wrong bedroom and had sex with the woman there assuming it was the woman that took him home. The woman in the bedroom also assumed that he was her boyfriend.

A MAN who claims he mistakenly had sex with “the wrong woman” after entering a dark bedroom at the home of a Sydney magazine editor was yesterday committed to stand trial for rape.

Paul John Chappell, 31, was invited back to the editor’s Bondi flat after they met during a night out.

The pair went to bed and Chappell later got up to use the bathroom.

But Chappell claims he mistakenly returned to the wrong bedroom, where the editor’s 23-year-old flatmate was asleep.

He got into bed with the flatmate and initiated sex, allegedly believing she was the other woman.

The flatmate participated because she thought it was her own boyfriend who had come to bed after falling asleep in the loungeroom.

When she turned on the light, the “hysterical” woman saw Chappell in her bed and realised her boyfriend was still asleep on the couch.

Chappell intends to plead not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

“The defence case is he made a mistake,” barrister Wayne Flynn told the Downing Centre Court Local yesterday. “He went into the wrong room and had sex with the wrong person.

“He thought he was having sex with the person he went home with.

“The (alleged victim) says she believed she was having sex with her boyfriend. She made a mistake as to who she was having sex with and so did the defendant.”

Although many people might question how the man could make such a mistake, the same question could be leveled at the woman. The woman may have been intoxicated, however, as the article says that her boyfriend was drunk and passed out on the couch, so one could speculate that they had been drinking together.

In a statement to police on the morning of the incident on October 1, the alleged victim said she had gone to bed about 2am, leaving her drunk boyfriend asleep on the lounge.

“The next thing I remember was waking up to someone having sex with me,” she said. “I assumed straight away that it was (my boyfriend) because I wouldn’t even consider that it would be anyone else.”

She also said: “When the light is out, it is black in our bedroom, you can’t see anything.”

To her dismay, she later turned on the light and realised it was Chappell, not her boyfriend, in the bed.

“I was totally gutted that it was him and not (my boyfriend),” she said. “I went straight into (my flatmate’s) bedroom hysterical.”

The magistrate commented about how difficult a case like this is to prove.

Magistrate Margaret Quinn committed Chappell to stand trial but said it “may well be a difficult case for the prosecution” to prove.

So is it rape or not? A few questions –

*What if the situation was reversed, and a woman mistakenly entered the bedroom and had sex with a man, would that also be considered rape?
*There is no way to prove that the man intentionally entered the wrong room, so is not the experience of both parties symetrical, both believing they were having sex with a different person? If that is the case, is the prosecution trying to criminalize the error of mistakenly entering the wrong room?

This is certainly one of the most unusual rape cases that I have come across, and in my own city!

Update: I came across another rape story, this time from the UK, that appeared on the same day as the one above.

A teacher who died in prison after being convicted of raping one of his pupils has been posthumously cleared by the Court of Appeal.

Darryl Gee was jailed in 2001 despite scant evidence to corroborate his accuser’s claims, which related to alleged incidents more than a decade earlier.

The music teacher, who protested his innocence, died in his cell from an undiagnosed blood cancer. He had served 18 months of an eight-year sentence.
This week, campaigners described the case as one of the worst miscarriages of justice they had seen after the Court of Appeal in London quashed his conviction.

It comes as government guidance designed to speed up investigations into alleged abuse of pupils is introduced in schools. Unions say this will reduce the risk of innocent teachers being smeared by false allegations.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “This is an extreme and tragic illustration of the consequences of malicious allegations and underlines the need for these new procedures.”

Mr Gee’s 88-year-old mother, Molly, awarded £62,493 costs by the court, said the case should be a warning to other teachers.

“It all boiled down to one girl’s word against his, and the jury believed her,” she said. “That’s all it took to send my son to prison and it has left me very angry and grief stricken. I don’t think anyone should have to work alone with
a child – it is just too easy for an allegation like this to be made.”

Mr Gee, a supply teacher who taught brass instruments, was found guilty at Leeds crown court in January 2001 after being accused of raping and indecently assaulting a pupil in a Huddersfield school in 1989. He died aged 55 in August 2002, a month after a second appeal failed.

His conviction was eventually quashed when his mother alerted the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which asked a leading psychiatrist to report on his accuser. The study cast doubt on her mental state. It also emerged that the girl, now 26, made similar allegations against another man, whose conviction was quashed earlier this year.

That story just scares me. Reading that one makes me think there should be a higher burden of proof for rape than the one the prosecution is presenting the court with in the first story.


6 Responses to “A case of rape or mistaken sex?”

  1. comment number 1 by: eli

    Matt, it gets even worse. A while back there was a whole cottage industry of “counselors” digging up “repressed” rape and incest memories using hypnosis and other shady psychological techniques.

    http://www.fmsfonline.org/

    In the vein of the articles you’ve posted, there was the wretched case of the Ruthorfords (amongst many others):

    There have been numerous sensational law cases based on recovered memories. One example is the famous case of Beth Rutherford, who “recovered” a memory, under her therapist’s guidance, that she had been regularly raped by her father as a child, and that he twice impregnated her and forced her to abort the fetus with a coat hanger. She sued her father, who eventually had to resign his job as a clergyman over the allegations. Later, medical examination confirmed that Rutherford was actually a virgin who had never been pregnant: her recovered memories of rape and abortion were actually false

  2. comment number 2 by: Matt

    Matt, it gets even worse. A while back there was a whole cottage industry of “counselors” digging up “repressed” rape and incest memories using hypnosis and other shady psychological techniques.

    I took a look at that site and its absolutely horrible. Are there any legal remedies for dealing with these quacks?

  3. comment number 3 by: polysics

    if a man walks into a womans room, and has sex with her, thinking its another woman. …. rape.

    if a woman walks into a mans room, and has has sex with a man, thinking its another man….. fantasy.

    if a man walks into a room and has sex with another man, thinking its a woman…… tragedy.

    if a priest walks up to a nun in a bar… a great comedic setup.

  4. comment number 4 by: Malaclypse

    I dunno… how dense do you have to be not to notice who you’re fucking?

    I don’t care if the lights are off- if you really can’t tell, you should just get one of those plastic vaginas and fuck that, you won’t tell any difference and it’ll save you a lot of hassle.

  5. comment number 5 by: Matt

    I dunno… how dense do you have to be not to notice who you’re fucking?

    I don’t care if the lights are off- if you really can’t tell, you should just get one of those plastic vaginas and fuck that, you won’t tell any difference and it’ll save you a lot of hassle.

    Well, they both couldnt tell. At least in his defense, he had never had sex with the woman he was intending to have sex with before, so has no point of reference to compare. The came cannot be said about the woman with the boyfriend.


  6. […] and at times the false allegation of rape does not have such sinister intent – just read this bizarre story from […]