Saturday 28 November 2020

MPs slam non-consensual sex law: ‘sex against a person’s will is rape’

Photo: Despositphotos.com

Draft legislation introducing ‘sex against a person’s will’ as a lesser crime than rape and punishable as such will not be supported by a majority of MPs as it stands, Trouw reported on Tuesday.

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.

While punishing those who are now walking away, Grapperhaus’s law would regard cases of this type as the separate offence of ‘sex against a person’s will’, carrying a penalty of six years in jail instead of 12.

A a survey by Amnesty International has shown that 70% of the population equates non-consensual sex with rape and both coalition and opposition MPs object to the distinction as well, Trouw said.

‘You are doing an injustice to victims if you do not class ‘sex against a person’s will’ as rape,’ VVD MP Jeroen van Wijngaarden told the paper.

MPs want Grapperhaus to emulate other European countries which regard all types of non-consensual sex as rape. ‘Other countries, such as Spain and Sweden, have opted to modernise rape law by acknowledging that a rapist is not always someone who jumps out of the bushes and violently rapes a person,’ Van Wijngaarden said.

Grapperhaus had already said he would not go along with ‘the caricature of a mutual consent form’, in a reaction to new Swedish legislation which says two people must make clear explicitly clear that sex is what they do or don’t, want.

MPs say that broadening the definition of rape did not mean all rapes would carry the same punishment and violent rapes causing physical injury would still carry a higher jail term.

‘The law can include these aggravating circumstances,’ CDA MP Madeleine van Toorenburg said. ‘It’s a good thing to make non-consensual sex punishable by law but we’re not satisfied this is the best way of doing it.

The definitive version of the law is not expected to be discussed in parliament until after the general elections in March.

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