Photo: Claudio Bresciani / SCANPIX

Government calls for harsher rape laws

The government wants to amend the law to widen the definition of rape. Currently, a victim must prove they were in a “helpless state” during an assault in order for it to be classified as rape

This effectively means that a passive person who did not dare challenge an attacker must have been drunk in order for the attacker to be convicted of rape.

The “helpless state” condition was written into law in 2005 and has since been severely criticized. The government is now proposing changing the formulation to a “particularly vulnerable situation”.
The proposal says that someone who is attacked and does not resist out of fear can also be a victim of rape.

“The discussion we have had around a ‘helpless state’ has partly been about whether a person has been able to object,” Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask told Swedish Radio.

“By reformulating this to ‘a particularly vulnerable situation’ – meaning the victim did not dare to, or could not, act but it is still a case of rape – we are reflecting reality a bit better.”

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