In one of the most remarkable decisions I've ever heard, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury ruled last week that explicit consent isn't necessary for "Girls Gone Wild."
A jury on Thursday rejected a young woman's claim that the producers of a "Girls Gone Wild" video damaged her reputation by showing her tank top being pulled down by another person in a Laclede's Landing bar.There is no such thing as implicit consent. That line of defense should not even have been allowed in a courtroom. And it is, of course, precisely that victim-blaming bullshit on which the jury seized to rule against the woman (who only found out she was in the video six years after the fact "after a friend of her husband's reported that she was in one of the videos).
A St. Louis Circuit Court jury deliberated 90 minutes before ruling against the woman, 26, on the third day of the trial. Lawyers on both sides argued the key issue was consent, with her side saying she absolutely refused to give it and the defense claiming she silently approved by taking part in the party.
"I am stunned that this company can get away with this," [Jane Doe] said after the verdict. "Justice has not been served. I just don't understand. I gave no consent."This, despite the fact that Doe can reportedly be heard saying "no" in the video.
But Patrick O'Brien, the jury foreman, told a reporter later that an 11-member majority decided that Doe had in effect consented by being in the bar and dancing for the photographer. In a trial such as this one, agreement by nine of 12 jurors is enough for a verdict.
"Through her actions, she gave implied consent," O'Brien said. "She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing."
"Girls Gone Wild" is a despicable franchise that has been allowed to get away with having clearly intoxicated women, some of them underage, give onscreen verbal consent or sign consent forms—and this ruling takes the defense of their predation to a whole new level. According to this jury, they don't even need to bother with verbal or signed consent: Any woman out of her house, fashionably dressed, and having a good time, maybe drinking, maybe at a bar, maybe at a party, but somewhere where there's booze and dancing, is giving "implicit consent" to be sexually assaulted, filmed, and put into a video from which she'll receive none of the profits.
Welcome to the rape culture.
[H/Ts to Shakers Gabrielle, Monica, and InfamousQBert.]