“Sex Must be Voluntary”: Sexual Communication and the New Definition of Rape in Sweden
- Date: Mar 31, 2021
- Time: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
- Speaker: Dr. Linnea Wegerstad (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Lund University / Sweden)
- Linnea Wegerstad has a Degree of Doctor of Laws from Lund University. Her doctoral thesis explores the concept of sexual integrity through a historical, theoretical, and doctrinal analysis of Swedish criminal law. She has practiced as a judge in the general courts for a few years and is now a senior lecturer of criminal law at Lund University. Her main field of research is sexual offenses and feminist legal theory. She is currently involved in a research project titled “The #Metoo Momentum and Its Aftermath: Crime Victims’ Justice-Seeking and Societal and Legal Responses”, funded by the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority.
- Location: via Zoom
- Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many countries are in a process of replacing outdated sex offense regulations with laws that accurately correspond to modern ideas about gender equality, sexual self-determination, and consensual sex. One example is Sweden, where a law that defines rape based on a criterion of nonvoluntary participation entered into force in 2018. This lecture presents an analysis of how rape is understood in the new legal discourse in Sweden, and I show that rape is presented as a matter of choice and communication in sexual situations. I argue that the new rape law sends a clear message about what sex should be — namely, voluntary — but does not accurately describe the crime and the behavior that deserves criminal censure. I conclude that a lesson from Sweden is that future rape law reforms may benefit from empirical knowledge of how people communicate in sexual situations.