There is a thought process when it comes to rape that only men can commit it and only women can be victims. That could not be further from the truth. The reality is, based on Virginia law, that rape is not a crime limited to a specific gender. This is important for everyone to understand so that victims can get justice.

The law does not use any gendered language when defining what constitutes the crime of rape. The law uses the word “person” and the pronouns “his or her.” This means that a man can be guilty of rape but so can a woman.

Looking at the law, the crime occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with another person without consent. The relationship does not matter. However, it does require some type of influence over the person. This could be physical or it could be threatening the person or using the other person’s inability to consent or stop the act.

Essentially, if a woman were to get a male drunk to the point where he is mentally unable to consent to sexual intercourse and then proceeds to engage in the act with him, it could be rape. A man has every right as a woman to report the crime and expect justice.

It is essential that law enforcement understands this law and its wording so male reports of rape do not go unrecognized. Furthermore, men need to understand they have just as much right to report a rape as a woman does. The stigma that a woman cannot rape a man is harmful to everyone. This information is for education and is not legal advice.