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IPFS News Link • Revolutions, Rebellions & Uprisings

The Right To Resist: Will Michigan Repeal the 'Rapist Doctrine'?


by William Norman Grigg

Recently by William Norman Grigg: The Making of a Prison Society

"Don’t resist – you’ll just make it worse."

Until recently, the only people expected to make that demand of their innocent victims were rapists and police officers. Fortunately, women are no longer expected to submit to sexual assault, but rather to fight back by whatever means are available – unless the assailant is one of the State’s costumed enforcers, in which case resisting sexual assault would be a felony.

This admission was pried from Gregory J. Babbitt, assistant prosecuting attorney for Michigan’s Ottawa County, during the October 4 oral argument before the state supreme court in the case of People v. Moreno. At issue in that case is the question of whether a citizen has a legally protected right to resist an unlawful search or unjustified arrest by a police officer.

In a colloquy with Babbitt, associate justice Michael Cavanaugh described a scenario in which a woman in police custody was sexually assaulted during a body search. In that situation, Cavanaugh inquired, could the victim be charged under the State’s "resisting and obstructing" statute?