"If it is not consensual, then it is rape. It is as simple as that," Elisabeth Massi Fritz told Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.
According to Massi Fritz, Swedish courts require higher standard of proof in rape cases, compared to other offences. Additionally, courts tend to arrive at contradictory conclusions because there appears to be confusion in regard to rape and sexual assault in Swedish criminal law.
"Victims are being constantly distrusted and blamed, whereas the perpetrators are being cosseted," Massi Fritz said.
In recent years, a number of gang rapes on ferries between Finland and Sweden made international headlines. However, subsequent trials saw the alleged perpetrators walk free. Massi Fritz, who represented the victim in the notorious "Cinderella case" in 2015, when a woman was gang-raped by three men on board the ferry M/S Cinderella, pointed out that ferry rapes are special from an investigative point of view, as police are rarely found on board and cases end up being reported with delays. According to her, this leads to the loss of important pieces of evidence.
According to Massi Fritz, the current legislation is not good enough anymore, since it requires beatings, violence, threats, or a particularly vulnerable situation for a sex offense to be classified as rape. This is an out an outdated approach that is based on a view of women that belongs in the past, she argued.
"Anything other than 'yes' should be a 'no.' Sexual intercourse should be based on voluntary participation and reciprocity and nothing else," Massi Fritz said, advocating the introduction of a negligence clause to avoid possible acquittals on the grounds that the accused possibly failed to understand the victim correctly.
Born to Christian Syrian parents from Lebanon, 49-year-old Elisabeth Massi Fritz worked as a criminal lawyer for 25 years and chose specifically to represent victims. She is also the only lawyer in Sweden specializing in so-called "crimes of honor," involving religious beliefs, marriage and sex. Over the years, she received numerous awards and was proclaimed Lawyer of the Year and Woman of the Year in Sweden.
Godmorgon Med tanke på hur extra svårt det är att styrka våldtäkter som begås på kryssningar och färjor har jag gjort en stor intervju för tidningen Nya Åland. Intervjun har även fått spridning i Finland. Länk finns i bio ⬆️ #intervju #åland #sverige #finland #tidning #färja #kryssning #båt #våldtäkt #rape #sexualabuse #stop #rapist #raper #SLUTADALTA #STOPPAFÖRÖVARNA 💪💪