A California woman was sexually assaulted by her husband, and caught the whole thing on tape. He went to jail, but when he gets out, a judge has ruled that she'll have to pay him alimony.
10News has Crystal Harris's description of the night her now ex-husband Shawn forced her to perform oral sex on him:
He wanted to have sex and I said no. He kept saying this is not up for negotiation. When I finally realized that I had no choice, I mean, he was pushing my head down; I finally talked him into letting me go to the bathroom. I realize I've got that tape recorder not far from where we are right now.
Shawn Harris claimed the whole thing was part of consensual sexual role-playing — he said they liked to act out infidelity, "hooker and pimp," and "Tarzan and Jane" scenarios. But the tape, in which Crystal Harris said "no" fifty times, and Shawn's prior history of domestic abuse and anger issues, led to a conviction for forced oral copulation. Harris was sentenced to six years in prison — but when he gets out, his wife will have to start paying him $1,000 a month in spousal support. Judge Gregory Pollock cited her much higher income: "I can't look at a 12-year marriage where one side is making $400 a month, the other side is making over $11,000 and say no spousal support."
Crystal Harris, understandably, is outraged that she will have to support the man who assaulted her: "It makes me feel victimized all over again that I should have to pay a dime to this man who has turned my life upside down." She added, "No rape victim should have to pay her rapist." But in California, being convicted of rape doesn't cancel out your entitlement to spousal support — only trying to murder your spouse does. Crystal Harris wants to change that — and so does San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis.
She's urging legislators to change the spousal support law, which would be a good thing for everyone. Many resources for abuse survivors seem to offer advice for extracting support from a non-paying spouse, but not for stopping payment to an abusive one. Stereotype might dictate that breadwinners are more likely to be rapists, but neither making money nor committing sexual assault are exclusively male acts. And no one who's been raped, male or female, should have to pay their attacker.