A court in Texas just exonerated a man who shot and killed a woman who had refused to have sex with him. She’s dead, and he will serve no time at all.1
We have to speak up to make sure this never happens again anywhere in the U.S.
Here’s what happened: Ezekiel Gilbert shot and killed a Craigslist escort after she left without having sex with him. His lawyer argued that since he had paid her $150 for the evening, he was justified under Texas law in shooting her because state law allows people “to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft.”2
The precedent this case sets is dangerous. A woman is NEVER required to have sex with a man if she doesn’t want to. Ever.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott can issue an opinion clarifying that nobody can be shot for refusing to have sex. As the state’s chief legal official, his opinion will influence elected and legal officials.3 In Texas and across the country, making this clear is incredibly important to saving lives in the future.
Yesterday’s verdict has generated a national firestorm of headlines that are making their way across social media. If we can focus the national spotlight on Abbott, the pressure could force him to act. Will you sign the petition asking AG Abbott to clarify that women always have the right to say no to sex, no matter the circumstances?
It’s horrifying that we have to clarify that a woman’s consent is hers to give, regardless of the circumstances. But if we don’t speak out, this sexist mentality and its sad results will only continue.
This story has already gotten the attention of national blogs. Both Gawker and Think Progress have written about the jury’s decision.4 Local Texas outlets are also seeing lots of online outrage. Commenters at My San Antonio have weighed in saying things like “I don’t even know what to say, I’m speechless. That’s not what this law is in place for” and “this is not the Bexar County I want to live in, where women can be murdered for not giving someone the sex they believe they’re owed.”5
We can make sure this doesn’t happen again. We need AG Abbott to speak out and issue an opinion making it perfectly clear that nobody should be killed for refusing sex, no matter what the circumstances.
Thanks for speaking out.
–Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Malinda and Karin, the UltraViolet team
1. Jury acquits escort shooter, My San Antonio, June 5, 2013
4. Texas Says It’s OK to Shoot an Escort If She Won’t Have Sex With You, Gawker, January 6, 2013
Jury Acquits Texas Man For Murder Of Escort Who Refused Sex, Think Progress, January 6, 2013
5. Jury acquits escort shooter: Comments, My San Antonio, January 6, 2013