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Any form of intrusion, regardless of the victim’s gender, must be considered rape: senators have agreed to modernize criminal law. However, they did not go as far as feminist circles wanted.

Legally, the case is also intimate and emotional. Rape is currently narrowly defined. Only non-consensual vaginal penetration of a man by a man is considered as such. And the victim had to show some resistance.

The Council of States has estimated the need for a revision of criminal law. In the future, any non-consensual penetration, whether oral, vaginal or anal, performed on a man or woman must be considered rape. A person who forces a third person to rape someone will also be considered a rapist.

>> Details at 19:30 for debate issues:

Rape and its definition were at the heart of the lively debate in Bern today. / 19:30 / 2 min. / Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

The concept of consent

The notion of restriction must also be abandoned. These two points were not fought for. The senators discussed in particular how best to respect the wishes of each partner. The Commission proposed to base its disagreement with the “no, no” option.

With this version, “there is a significant risk that some of the rapes will not be covered,” criticized Lisa Mazzone (Vert / es / GE). A Swedish study showed that 70% of sexual victims experienced “tonic immobility”. In a state of astonishment, they could not express their resistance verbally or physically. They suffered their aggression without reaction.

Consent must be given explicitly, Geneva ruled. The “yes is yes” option is the only one that can ensure sexual self-determination. “In case of doubt or absence of his partner, the initiator of the sexual act must ask for his consent.”

However, most of the bourgeois camp did not follow suit. The “yes” option would lead to the “criminalization of sexuality,” said Beat Rieder (C / VS). The possibility of rejection is “a more positive view of sexuality, which both partners fundamentally want”. With the version of consent, the burden of proof would be reversed, he continued.

Classification of offenses

The proposal further introduces the grading of offenses: without coercion, with coercion and with cruelty or the use of dangerous weapons. Penalties would increase with the severity of the offense. There would be a minimum fine and a maximum of five years in prison for non-violent rape.

Violent rape would threaten more than two to ten years in prison. The bourgeois proposal narrowly crossed the ramp by 23 votes to 20.

Senators due to lack of time could not examine the project as a whole. However, they still set the minimum sentence for sexual acts against a child under 12 years of age for one year of imprisonment by 26 votes to 17. The council will continue reviewing the project next Monday.

>> Discussion at the forum between Clara Schneuwly, a Geneva lawyer specializing in the defense of victims and a member of the Association of Progressive Lawyers, and Loïc Parein, a criminal lawyer in the canton of Vaud:

Council of States discusses redefinition of rape in criminal code: discussion between Clara Schneuwly and Loïc Parein [RTS]

The Council of States discusses the redefinition of rape in the Criminal Code: debate between Clara Schneuwly and Loïc Parein / Forum / 11 min. / Tuesday at 18:00

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