Sexual Assault Not ”Sexual Enough”

Content Notice: This piece discusses sexual violence, assault and rape.

A sexual assault case in Sweden describing how a man received a lowered sentence because the sexual assault he put his girlfriend through was not “sexual enough” or did not have enough of a sexual undertone has Swedish feminists extremely upset this past week.

The man in question had been threatening and beating his girlfriend for an extended period of time. In a jealous rage, which apparently was very common behavior for the man, he ripped his girlfriend’s underwear of and forced two fingers into her to check for “evidence” that she was cheating on him. The man was initially sentenced to two years and eight months for (among other things) rape. The definition of rape does cover sexual assault in all forms and is not solely based on penetrative acts. However, the Supreme Court changed the decision and claimed that the man simply had used force and dismissed the sexual assault claim.

According to the Court, the assault was not based on sexual violence but solely violence. The man did, according to our present laws, sexually assault the women but since he was “only” checking for evidence of cheating the Court meant that his assault lacked sexual characteristics. Thereby, the sentence was lowered to 14 months in prison.

Feminists groups have, as stated above, raged against the change of sentencing and have criticized how rape and sexual assault cases are being handled.  This case is also similar to a previous rape case that we have discussed here at Feminists For Choice in which the attempted rape of a trans woman was dismissed as attempted rape because the victim did not have a vagina and therefore rape would have been “impossible”.