The Whipping Boys: Male Rape Victims and Their Duty to Pay Child Support

“The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam. Not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him.” — Matthew Henry

Under the current law of the United States, a male who is sexually victimized by a female is strictly liable to financially support any child born as a result of the mother’s criminal act. These cases generally arise where the father is a minor who is statutorily raped or where the mother sexually assaults the father—either forcibly or while the father is incapacitated. This article aims to provide a solution for courts to grant relief to these fathers who did not (or legally could not) consent to sexual contact with the mother but were forced to pay child support anyway. Indeed, a standard requiring that the father must consent to the sexual contact with the mother in order to be held liable for child support will restore the father’s reproductive choice that strict liability child support has taken away. This solution aims to provide a fine-line distinction between what is, and what is not, consent to fatherhood.