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New Swedish Law Means 'Sex Without Consent' Is Now Considered Rape

New Swedish Law Means 'Sex Without Consent' Is Now Considered Rape

Sweden has brought into effect a law that states that sex without explicit consent is considered rape.

The law comes after the country was deeply shocked by the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, reports the Daily Mail.

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The law now states that a person is guilty of rape if they are part of a sexual act that the other person has not 'freely' consented to. It was previously defined as a sexual act that was forced and involved violence or the threat of violence.

Now, the Swedish government's rules say: "It is no longer necessary that violence or threats were applied, or that the aggressor took advantage of the victim's particularly vulnerable situation."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Sweden has experienced more than 7,000 cases of reported rape in the last year, this is an increase of around 10% on statistics from 2016.

Judges will be asked to rule on whether consent was given - this doesn't have to be verbal, but can be physical, or in other manners.

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The law, which was passed in May, was partly created by Judge Anna Hannell.

Hannell told Swedish news station TT that there would be 'absolutely no requirement to formally say yes, to hit a button in an app or anything else of the same type'.

She said: "Simply participating physically is a sign of consent."

Back in December 2017, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said: "It should be obvious. Sex should be voluntary. If it is not voluntary, then it is illegal.

"If you are unsure, then refrain."

Stefan Lofven. Credit: PA
Stefan Lofven. Credit: PA

In Sweden, an offence of rape is punishable with six years of jail time, with a maximum sentence of up to 10 if the victim is not of legal age.

However, not everybody is happy with the law change. Opponents say that it makes judges decisions on whether consent was given too arbitrary.

That said, the government are confident that the law will be a change for the better. Sweden's Gender Equality Minister, Lena Hallengren issued a statement this weekend that said: "#MeToo showed with force that a lot still needs to be done to fight sexual harassment and sexual violence at work and in the rest of society."

Sweden's House of Parliament. Credit: PA
Sweden's House of Parliament. Credit: PA

Hallegren also said that the Swedish government would be putting aside 120 million krona (£10.2m) of funding to combat sexual abuse.

An app was recently unveiled in Sweden by which people can consent to having sex. The app was founded by lawyers and app developers and is called LegalFling.

It allows two people to consent in a formal manner to avoid any confusion. A contract for what is and isn't acceptable can also be agreed between the two people, then action can be taken if that contract is not followed or any of the stipulations are broken.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: government, News, Legal, #MeToo, law, Rape, Sweden

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

 

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