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Cultural Defense Accepted as to Nonconsensual Sex in New Jersey Trial Court, Rejected on Appeal
by Eugene Volokh
From today's opinion in S.D. v. M.J.R. (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div.), a domestic restraining order case:
The record reflects that plaintiff, S.D., and defendant, M.J.R., are citizens of Morocco and adherents to the Muslim faith. They were wed in Morocco in an arranged marriage on July 31, 2008, when plaintiff was seventeen years old. The parties did not know each other prior to the marriage. On August 29, 2008, they came to New Jersey as the result of defendant's employment in this country as an accountant....
[Long discussion of the wife's allegations of abuse, which included several instances of nonconsensual sex as well as other abuse, omitted for space reasons. –EV]
Upon their return to the apartment, defendant forced plaintiff to have sex with him while she cried. Plaintiff testified that defendant always told her
this is according to our religion. You are my wife, I c[an] do anything to you. The woman, she should submit and do anything I ask her to do.
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