The lower house of the Swiss Parliament expands the definition of rape

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The lower house of the Swiss Parliament expands the definition of rape

It is a decision described as a “huge success” by Amnesty International. The lower house of the Swiss Parliament on Monday greatly expanded the very restrictive definition of rape in force in the country.

Under current law, only coerced vaginal penetration, accompanied by some degree of resistance from the woman, is considered rape. There is a consensus that the definition of rape should include any penetration without consent, regardless of the sex of the victim but also his degree of resistance.

Passionate debates

But there were heated debates in Switzerland over how to measure consent. Some advocate a “no means no” approach, according to which there would be rape if a person explicitly objected to penetration. The upper house of Parliament, the Council of States, has already voted in this direction this year.

But when the National Council – the lower house – voted on Monday, it opted for a broader definition, requiring explicit consent for sexual acts. The option “Only yes means yes” narrowly passed with 99 votes for, 88 against and three abstentions, in an electric atmosphere.

“It goes without saying that you don’t take money from your neighbour’s purse without asking him. It goes without saying that one does not enter someone’s house without ringing the bell. Why would my wallet and my house be better protected than my body? “Questioned Socialist MP Tamara Funiciello, according to the ATS agency. The Green Raphaël Mahaim abounded: “The body of the other is never an open bar. Before having a moment of sexual sharing, you have to make sure of your partner’s consent”. Many right-wing politicians, on the other hand, fought the “yes, it’s yes” option, saying it would create confusion and be difficult to apply.

The Swiss branch of the NGO Amnesty International welcomed Monday’s vote, which came “after years of political activism by activists defending the rights of women and victims of sexual violence”. Both chambers will have to find a compromise before the process can continue. Once this is done, the subject will probably be proposed to a popular vote, as permitted by the Swiss system of direct democracy.

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