Here in America the definition of rape is reliant on the phrase “lack of consent”. Agreeing to the sexual advances of another person constitutes consent. Lack of consent can also occur when a person does not have the ability to give consent. Such as being intoxicated, asleep, or otherwise mentally compromised. Naturally, lack of agreement constitutes lack of consent. Many Americans may take for granted that the same standards apply to the crime of rape in Europe.

Surprisingly, the legal criteria for rape doesn’t involve lack of consent in many parts of Europe. According to Amnesty International, only eight countries in Europe consider sex without consent to be rape. As of July 1, 2018, a new law went into effect in Sweden that now considers lack of consent as the crime of rape. Today in Sweden, sexual intercourse with a person that has not given clear verbal or physical consent is rape. It took a decade for feminist groups and activists in Sweden to have the change made. Also this year Iceland implemented changes that constitute lack of consent as the crime of rape. Prior to Sweden and Iceland, only 6 countries in Europe, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Cyprus were the countries in Europe where lack of consent is considered to be rape.

For women in Europe, one in twenty over the age of fifteen has been raped, and one in ten has experienced a form of sexual violence. This has created a growing number of female activists and movements that are demanding their countries change the outdated rape laws to include lack of consent. Currently, many European nations consider rape to occur through the use of force.

Their actions have led to governments in countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Denmark to express publicly that they are open to discussions about broadening their current rape laws to include lack of consent. The acquittal of rape offenders in high profile cases across Europe is the reason women across Europe are standing up and demanding the ancient rape laws be changed.

In Sweden, in 2013, a 15 year old girl was raped with a wine bottle. In that case the court acquitted the three men accused of raping the young girl. In Portugal, an assault took place in the bathroom of a bar, carried out by three men on a woman who repeatedly lost consciousness. That case resulted in suspended sentences for the three men. In Northern Ireland the discussion was provoked when four Ulster rugby players were acquitted of rape.

Not limited to adult women, over a five year span, high school students of both genders in Norway took up the cause to have lack of consent implemented into the crime of rape. In what can only be described as insane legislating, legislators voted down a proposal to implement lack of consent to the crime.

Criteria for the crime of rape should not be taken for granted. Rape itself is a crime that has a uniform understanding. SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE! This should be the standard of rape across the globe. With that said, if our legislators consider cutting ties with a country for the murder of their own journalists, we should also consider cutting ties with allied countries that do not carry the same standards as we do when it comes to the crime of rape! Furthermore, how can so many in our world consider globalism when the laws of what constitutes the crime of rape are not uniform?

James Cheef

Click the link for more information: A wave of women fighting rape across Europe