A 27-year-old Swedish man from Västerbotten County has been charged with “careless rape” in the Supreme Court, marking the debut of the new law at a court of superior jurisdiction and establishing an important precedent, national broadcaster SVT reported.
In accordance with the newly introduced “consent clause”, the perpetrator was handed out a jail sentence of two years and three months. The apex court specifically used the “careless rape” legal classification instead of “intentional rape”, as was suggested by a lower jurisdiction court.
According to the Supreme Court, the man made contact with the woman on social media before they met in person and slept in the same bed. At night, he began to touch her and initiated intercourse. The woman claimed she became “paralysed” when the 27-year-old started touching her, and that the man failed to interpret her inaction as a call to stop. Earlier in the evening, the woman allegedly made it clear that she did not want to have sex with him.
The Supreme Court viewed that the perpetrator had thereby carried out sexual acts without the woman participating voluntarily. Therefore, the court does not consider that the man acted intentionally. Nevertheless, since he acted with “gross negligence”, he was found guilty of “careless rape”.
“My opinion is that he should have walked free, but I have to bow to the Supreme Court”, defence lawyer Jörgen Frisk said.
The defence has argued that the situation implied “tacit consent”, among other things because the woman was lying in just her underwear and made no criticism of the man's actions after the intercourse. However, the Supreme Court turned down this argument.
My Hedström of the Prosecutor General's office welcomed the judgement as “good and clear”.
“It is a good precedent. I am also pleased that we adjusted the verdict from intentional rape to negligent rape, which he was now charged with”, Hedström told SVT. “Hereby, guidance has been given as to which punishment a negligent rape case should have”, she concluded.
Sweden's so-called “consent law”, slammed by some as “draconian”, came into force on 1 July, 2018. Without the law, the man would have likely walked free, legal professionals suggested.
On social media, Swedes raised their eyebrows over the verdict, with some calling it “idiotic”.
“This means that if you are in the same bed and have sex without talking to one another, whoever takes the initiative can be sentenced for rape? Really sick! Also, believe a woman will never be convicted”, a user mused.
Det här måste väl betyda att om man ligger i samma säng och har sex utan att prata med varandra så kan den som tar initiativet dömas för våldtäkt? Helt sjukt i så fall och jag tror aldrig att en kvinna kommer att bli fälld.— GurrahP (@GurrahP) 11 июля 2019 г.
“Perfect! Now, the prosecutors must also prosecute women for negligent rape. A man's erect penis can no longer be taken as a silent consent to intercourse, because a man can have an erect penis for other reasons than wanting to have sex”, another scoffed.
Perfekt! Nu måste åklagarna börja åttala kvinnor som våldtar män för oaktsam våldtäkt. En mans erigerade penis kan inte längre tas som ett tyst samtycke till samlag eftersom en man kan ha erigerad penis av flera andra skäl än att han vill ha sex.— Ola Samuelsson (@OlaSamuelsson5) 11 июля 2019 г.
Many found the formula “careless rape” confusing.
“Is there such a thing as 'careful rape'?” a user sneered.
Finns "aktsam våldtäkt"?— Bo Lundin (@BoLundin1) 11 июля 2019 г.
While Sweden's sex crime curve has taken a steep upswing in recent years, with 2018 becoming a new record year with 7,556 reported rapes, the authorities ascribe the spike to anti-harassment campaigns, sharper laws, and a lower reporting threshold. By contrast, unofficial reports weigh in immigration, citing immigrants' over-representation.