Sweden votes in law to make sex illegal without consent

Sweden has passed a law to make sex illegal without explicit consent.

The historic vote marks a victory for campaigners who have worked to implement the legislation for more than a decade.

“Today’s vote marks a huge victory for women’s rights activists in Sweden who have been campaigning tirelessly for this change for more than a decade,” Anna Blus told Amnesty International.

“Most European countries still define rape based on physical force, threat or coercion, and these outdated definitions have caused immeasurable harm. While there is still a great distance to travel, we are hopeful that today’s decision will herald a Europe-wide shift in legislation and in attitudes,” she added.


Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven arrives ahead of deliberations with UN Secretary General at the Royal Library in Stockholm on April 23, 2018. (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

This makes Sweden the tenth country in the world to legislate that sex without consent is rape.

Only nine other countries – or 7 if we count the U.K. as one jurisdiction – have such definitions of rape.

As it stands, The UK — including the courts of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales — Belgium, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Iceland, Ireland and Germany define non-consensual sex as rape.

Feminists in the UK and Sweden alike have celebrated the news.


WASHINGTON – MAY 27: Loretta Cooper (L), Director of Development of the Smithsonian Institution, dresses as Rosie the riveter (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, spousal rape is still legal.

In the heteronormative and corrosive legislation in the countries, husbands are entitled to have sex with wives regardless of whether or not they offer their consent.

This became illegal in the UK in 1992.

“YES SWEDEN!” wrote excited Twitter user Kara Brown.

The movement towards the consent law gained momentum after a horrific rape case took place in 2013, reported TIME.

A court’s decided to acquit three young men accused of raping a 15-year old girl with a wine bottle until she bled.

The verdict in the case read that “people involved in sexual activities do things naturally to each other’s body in a spontaneous way, without asking for consent.”

The law will come into effect from July 1 of this year.