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Opinion: Lying to get someone into bed is sexual assault

The dating world often causes people to stretch the truth. But according to American Joyce Short, there's a point at which those little lies add up to a crime. Short thinks lying in order to have a sexual relationship with someone is "sexual assault by fraud" and she's petitioning to have the laws changed.
How well do you know your partner? Joyce Short says that before having a relationship with someone, you should make sure they are who they say they are. (evolutionlab.nipissingu.ca)
Listen10:05

People often tell little lies in the early stages of dating to impress a possible partner.

But at what point do those lies add up to fraud?

Joyce Short, who has experienced this first hand, thinks that lying to get into bed with someone is sexual assault by fraud.

She would like to see the laws in the United States change and is currently working with to bring these types of sexual assault cases to court in New York state.

When you lie to a person in order to engage them in sexual action, you're sexually assaulting that person, you're not seducing them.- Joyce Short

Here in Canada, consent is sometimes disregarded by the court, for reasons of fraud. Most of these cases involve HIV non-disclosure. Some other cases have been brought to court, but these are few and far between.

"Very few people will ever go to jail due to sexual assault by fraud lie... There are two important elements that make it difficult to prosecute any of these cases...One of them is that the person them self [the victim] has to behave in a reasonable fashion, and this is true in all fraud law... The other important element is that you need significant proof."

Joyce says that because online dating is a popular way to hook up, many fraudulent sexual relationships are beginning online. The upside to this is gathering sufficient proof against someone to use in court is now easier.

Fraud is defined by the following terms: You lie, you know that you're lying, you expect the person to believe your lie, they indeed believed your lie and they suffered harm as a result of your actions because you've lied to them- Joyce Short

But it was long before the days of online dating when Joyce herself was tricked into a relationship built on false pretences — a marriage that lasted three and a half years and included a child.

"The information that I received lead me to have a concept of this person that was completely different than he actually was. It was sort of like what happened in Mad Men when the person pretended to be Donald Draper and in fact he was Dick Whitman."

She says it is up to the individual to screen potential lovers before getting into bed with them.

"I believe that people should think twice about using dating sites.I believe that before they go to bed with a person, and I don't mean the minute before they go to bed with the person...they need to check this person's identification."

Click the "play" button above to hear the full interview with Joyce Short.

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