Denmark: Sex Without 'Explicit Consent' is Now Rape!

Published December 18th, 2020 - 09:10 GMT
(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)
Highlights
“We must have changed society’s understanding of what rape is, and a new consent-based rape provision is a milestone in that effort.”

Denmark has strengthened its rape laws by criminalising sex without explicit consent.

The new law passed by parliament widened the circumstances that could constitute rape - under the old legislation, prosecutors had to show the rapist had used violence or attacked someone who was unable to resist.

"Now it will be clear, that if both parties do no consent to sex, then it's rape," justice minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement.

Under a deal reached by Denmark’s minority Social Democratic government and the left-wing parties, Danish law would specify that sexual consent must be given voluntarily and as an expression of an individual’s free will through words or action.

“This is one of the most important battles for gender equality in Denmark that has taken place for a very long time,” Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said after the agreement was announced. 

“We must have changed society’s understanding of what rape is, and a new consent-based rape provision is a milestone in that effort.”

Grim numbers

A similar law introduced in neighbouring Sweden in 2018 resulted in a 75 percent rise in rape convictions.

Germany, Belgium and Britain already have similar laws.

Around 11,400 women a year are raped or subjected to attempted rape in Denmark, according to the ministry's figures.

The University of Southern Denmark’s research estimates that this figure may have been as high as 24,000 in 2017. However, in 2019 just 1,017 rapes were reported to the police and only 79 resulted in convictions, according to Amnesty reports.

Amnesty International said Denmark had become the 12th country in Europe to recognise non-consensual sex as rape.

"This is a great day for women in Denmark as it consigns outdated and dangerous rape laws to the dustbin of history and helps to end pervasive stigma and endemic impunity for this crime," the campaign group's Women's Rights Researcher, Anna Blus, said.

The law will take effect on January 1.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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