Wednesday 15 July 2020

‘Non-consensual sex’ is still rape, say 75% of the Dutch in Amnesty survey

Statue of justice.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Most Dutch think any sex without mutual consent should be qualified as rape, a survey by I&O Research on behalf of Amnesty International has shown.

In current Dutch law rape is only rape if force or violence can be proven in court. This is not always possible because victims freeze, are too frightened to resist, or are drugged.

Amnesty commissioned the survey because justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus wants to make ‘non-consensual sex’ a separate offence, carrying only half the penalty for rape. Amnesty says that 70% of rape cases are of this type.

Three quarters of the 2,000 respondents said that sex without mutual consent but without the use force of violence should count as rape, with nearly all respondents saying that it makes no difference if the victim froze or was under the influence.

However, some 20% of young men between 16 and 35 said that the absence of a clear ‘no’ would count as a mitigating circumstance.

Amnesty wants Grapperhaus to reconsider his proposal. ‘Sex against someone’s will must always be treated as rape,’ Martine Goeman, director of the gender programme at Amnesty, told public broadcaster NOS. ‘Instead of making this a new offence, the current law on rape should be adapted to include it,’ she said.

Goeman also said half of women who had experienced this type of rape had not reported it to the police. ‘They are met with disbelief and questions of why the victim did not put up a fight. That damages them for a second time,’ she said.

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