There are few situations more terrifying than waking up to find that yourself having unsolicited sex with someone, but what happens when your attacker claims to have been unconscious during the encounter? That's the dilemma a Welsh court faced when 43-year-old Stephen Lee Davies cited his sexsomnia as the reason he raped a 16 year-old in his bed.
You might be asking what a teenager was even doing in his bedroom, but Davies told the Swansea Crown Court that the student was staying with him overnight when she fell ill and moved to his room because it was cooler. Being asleep, he was unaware of her presence, let alone that he'd had sex with her. Davies only realized what he'd done when she sent him a text saying "Go to hell, you dirty b**tard" the next morning. When Sex Is A Weapon: Surviving Date Rape
Apparently, Davies and his lawyers made a compelling case for sexsomnia because the jury let him walk free earlier this week. Davies' ex-wife, Angela, told the jury that he'd often have sex with her in the middle of the night, albeit while asleep—that the encounteres were always nonviolent and that Davies would have zero recollection of them happening upon waking the next morning. Eventually, the incidents became a joke between them. Another of his sexual partners recalled that Davies would have entire conversations, as well as sex, with her without ever waking up. Dr. Chris Idizowski, founder of the British Sleep Society, also said that Davies showed strong symptoms of the disorder. How To Know When Sex Is Not Consensual
This isn't the first time unconsciousness has acquitted someone from rape. In 2007, a British Royal Air Force mechanic was acquitted from raping a 15-year-old girl due to sexsomnia. That same year, women's groups in Canada protested the acquittal of a man who said that his sexsomnia caused him to rape someone at a party. 4 Strange Sex Disorders We'd Rather Not Encounter
In the Canadian case, the defense said that there is no crime without the intent of committing one, but being asleep doesn't take away from the fact that you raped someone. If you punched someone while sleepwalking, they're still going to have a sore face the next morning. If you stole someone's property while sleepwalking, you'd still have to return it. Although Davies' condition is unfortunate, that poor girl still has to live with the trauma of the ordeal. Perhaps he should consider locking his bedroom door in the future.
Image courtesy of The Telegraph