In California in 1840, Cornelio López entered the room of María Ygnacia Elizalde and attempted to force her to have sex with him: “Why don’t you want to have relations with me? Haven’t you already been with others?” She filed a criminal complaint, with her husband presenting the case for the prosecution.
The defense, headed by Juan Cristóbal Vejar, argued that Elizalde’s biological sex as a female and López’s as a male were to blame for his behavior: “Man is susceptible to the inclinations of the female sex,” Vejar argued. “That the defendant approached an honorable woman is not a crime.” Lopez’s behavior may have been improper, but it was not criminal, and it was initiated by impulses of the flesh beyond his control.
(From p. 37 of Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s by Miroslava Chávez-García and the Alcalde Court Records at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vol. I, pp. 506-62 (1840).)
If you need modern examples of what I’m talking about, see:
- Rapists Explain Themselves on Reddit, and We Should Listen via jezebel.com
- Raw Story on The Top 5 Rape-Apologist Reactions to the Steubenville Verdicts via manboobz.com (see post and comments)