What does Justice have to do with Health Lessons?

What does Justice have to do with Health Lessons?  My students could tell you because they knew about how sexual court cases are judged by people using common sense.  I knew and my students would have known the day Andrea Constand (Cosby’s accuser) testified in court, that she was not going to win her case. You need 12 jurors for a conviction; for a case dismissal all you need is 1 juror. With her reported story, there was no way she would get 12 jurors to believe she was raped (she got a possible 3 – 6 on the first ballot). Not only were my students taught the Steps of Intimacy in terms of how humans behave, they were also informed in terms of how a jury would view consent (to intercourse). To protect my students’ future, it was important for them to know how a jury would view/judge behaviors in terms of Steps of Intimacy.

Years ago a survey conducted by the Texas Association against Sexual Assault discovered that while most respondents understood that “no means no” —

• 47 percent believed that allowing touching under the clothes constitutes consent to intercourse. That is step number 13 on the Steps of Intimacy. That means if a girl decides at this time to say No, theoretically the guy should stop. But if he doesn’t, a member of the jury might be sympathetic toward the accused (provided of course the victim is not his daughter, sister, etc.).

Nearly 1/3 thought that agreeing to going to someone’s home after a date or as a date also signals consent. That surprised me; so I consulted an expert — my husband. “A guy is not going to ask a girl into his home, apartment, or hotel room unless he has picked up signals that she would be receptive to his advances.” This means that if you voluntarily go to where you will be alone with the accused, a member of the jury may judge the victim’s thinking more severely than, what occurred in the isolated area. Of course, there will be people screaming:

 You are blaming the victim
 That is sexist
 That is an unfair statement

While others will say:

• She should have known better
• There have got to be boundaries
• She had sex with him before

• Even more striking: About 25 % of respondents said a woman cannot claim she was raped if she didn’t actively fight off the sexual advance. In other words, there better be bruises.

Responses did not differ significantly by the gender of the person taking the survey.

People have no problem putting someone in jail if:

• Someone grabbed a kid walking home from school and sexually assaulted him / her.
• Someone breaks into a person’s home and molests the person residing there

Judging becomes much more difficult if a girl goes willingly to someone’s hotel room, apartment etc. and the couple progresses down the Steps of Intimacy. If one or both of the people involved are altering their brain with alcohol and or a drug, it becomes very difficult for all 12 members of the jury to be sympathetic toward the alleged victim. The couple have put themselves in a position where 12 strangers will judge them based on what the jurors hear inside a courtroom. Lawyers are paid a lot of money to win their case. Each side will not hesitate to damage / destroy the reputation of their adversary. A jury will judge a victim or perpetrator of sexual assault based on their own personal experiences, their biases and current societal attitudes. If you are a victim or a perpetuator of a sexual crime you will be judged on your behavior before and after the alleged rape, the Steps of Intimacy you willingly participated in, the location of the assault, if there is coercion, violence and / or alcohol involved. Twelve people who don’t know the victim or the perpetrator, and were not at the scene of the alleged sexual assault will piece together the evidence they believe and make a judgment that will affect somebody’s future. The complainant and the defendant have no control of the outcome. The decision of the jury may very well interrupt someone’s life in an unpleasant and unexpected way.

The lesson I provide for my students is:

• What is done in private many times becomes public knowledge, so choose wisely. Bill Cosby and Andrea Constand didn’t choose wisely and they have both been hurt and damaged.

• If you choose to have sex (usually performed in a private setting) outside of a marriage, you have possibly put yourself in a position to potentially be judged by others. Some of those judges will be friends, parents, acquaintances, strangers, and / or 12 people on a jury.

  • since 1/3  of people taking a survey thought that agreeing to going to someone’s home, dorm, apartment etc after a date or as a date  signals consent to having sexual intercourse,  save yourself potential heartache meet/talk/kiss at Starbucks or any other public place.

Below is a great story to use as a discussion with your students:

Google: Rape case a story of sex, lies and prison by Kathleen Parker. Click on Sex, Lies and Prison Kathleen Parker or copy and paste the link below into your web browser. http://townhall.com/columnists/kathleenparker/2006/05/03/sex,_lies_and_prison/page/full

Facts are forgettable; pictures can make an impression but stories stay with you because they create an emotion. In this story (Sex, Lies and Prison), the guy gets the raw deal and you wonder what in the world was that jury thinking of. It’s an unbelievable, yet true story where 12 people had to sort through a he said and she said trial and someone went to jail for a few years, will be on probation until he is 37, and will live under sex offender restrictions until he’s at least 47. Life can be soooo unfair.

Give your students an opportunity where they are a member of a jury and they decide someone’s future. :   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4608272/Governor-s-grandson-20-raped-fellow-UVA-student.html?ito=social-facebook

Divide your class into jury panels of 12. Give each panel a copy of the news article describing the unfortunate incident. Based on the evidence found in the newspaper, each jury panel will decide if the young man is:

• guilty of sexual assault (rape) — They will explain their reasoning  to the class


• innocent of sexual assault (rape) — They will explain their reasoning  to the class


• deserves a mistrial — the panel will reveal how many  guilty votes there were and the reasons  given for those votes.   The panel will also reveal how many votes for not guilty and  the reasons given for the not guilty vote

Students, after this experience of being a juror, where you have the grown up responsibility of judging someone’s actions thus determining someone’s future

            what did you learn from this experience?

My hope is both girls and boys will recognize there is a risk when you go away from the crowd to a private place. Stories like this happen all the time.    meet/talk/kiss at Starbucks or any other public place and not in a dorm room, apartment etc.




If you click on http://www.jstor.org/stable/4093340 and do a search for: Acquaintance Rape and Degrees of Consent: “No” Means “No,” but What Does “Yes” Mean? — you will find a number of court cases dealing with this issue and changing legal views.


For More Information on The Step of Intimacy, please check out the complete lesson plan at:








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