Thousands sign petition to change to NC rape law

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Crystal Emerick survived a sexual assault and is the founder of Brave Step, a nonprofit organization aiding sexual assault victims.

Emerick offers therapy to assault victims faced with a similar experience.

"I wasn't present," Emerick said. "I certainly wasn't of present mind to say ‘no,’ as are many survivors who we see."

In North Carolina, saying ‘no’ might not be enough to charge someone with rape.

A state Supreme Court ruling in 1979 said women can't revoke consent once sex has started.

If passed, Senate Bill 553 would change that.

That bill states a person can withdraw their consent including in the middle of sex, but it must be communicated clearly enough for a reasonable person to understand.

More than 14,000 people across the world have signed a petition for state lawmakers to pass the law. 

Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, sponsored the bill.

"The idea is simple," Jackson said. "Women have the right to withdraw consent at any time. They have the right to say stop at any time."

The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Rules Committee.

If passed, it would take effect Dec. 17.