Denmark government has announced plans to reform the country’s sexual violence laws. “We are moving from a system where there had to be coercion and violence for it to be rape, to one where there must be consent,” justice minister, Nick Haekkerup, told a press conference. “A sexual partner could express their consent verbally or “indirectly” according to the circumstances, the minister added, explaining that “sexual language can go beyond words”.

Denmark to change law, treat non-consensual sex as rape

“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 have to change societies’ understanding of what rape is, and a new consent-based rape provision is a milestone in that effort.” Denmark’s legal change is expected to be adopted by the end of the year. It has majority of support in the parliament.  While no date for a formal vote was announced, but the legal change is expected to be adopted by the end of 2020.

Here is a list of countries that consider consent as the basis for rape:- 

Sweden

A similar law came into effect in Sweden on 1 July, 2018. The number of rape convictions rose by 75% to 333 last year. It is “based on the obvious: sex must be voluntary”, the government said when the legislation was proposed. Under the previous legislation, prosecutors had to prove that the perpetrator had used violence or that the victim had been exploited in a vulnerable condition, such as under the influence of alcohol, in order to secure a rape conviction. The law introduces two new offences, negligent rape and negligent sexual abuse, carrying a maximum prison term of four years. “The negligence aspect focuses on the fact that one of the parties did not participate voluntarily,” the government said, adding that it would be possible to convict more people of sexual abuse.

Bhutan, Ireland, France, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Wales, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Cyprus and Canada are among other countries following the consent rule.

Some of the countries that still don’t think consent is an important determinant for rape :-

Most of the European countries haven’t made consent the basis for determining rape. According to analysis published ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Three-quarters of EU member states only legally recognise rape when physical violence, threats or coercion is involved.

Spain  

Spanish law says that rape must involve violence or intimidation, whereas sexual abuse does not. The verdict in the Pamplona trial ignited calls for legal reforms that dictate rape is non-consensual sex regardless of whether violence or intimidation occurred.

Other countries using such a law: Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway.

There are still some countries that don’t recognise consent as an important determinant for rape. The step Denmark government took marks another victory for the country’s women. We still have a long way to go ensure gender equality and safety for women.

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.