Switzerland’s lower house of parliament voted on Monday to dramatically expand the country’s limited definition of rape to include all sex without consent, but a change in the law is still a long way off.
There is a broad consensus in Switzerland that its current rape law needs tweaking.
Under current law, only forced vaginal penetration, met with some level of resistance from the woman, is considered rape.
It is widely accepted that the definition of rape should be expanded to include any non-consensual penetration, regardless of the gender of the victim and whether or not she retaliated.
But there has been a heated debate in Switzerland over how to measure consent, with some arguing for a “no means no” approach, in which it would be considered rape if someone explicitly objects to it.
The upper house of parliament, the Council of States, voted earlier this year for this approach – but when the lower National Council voted on Monday it opted for a more sweeping change, requiring explicit consent for sex acts.
The option “only yes means yes” was narrowly adopted with 99 votes for, 88 votes against and 3 abstentions.
Emotion ran high during Monday’s debate.
“Obviously you don’t take money out of your neighbor’s wallet without asking. It’s obvious you don’t walk into someone’s house without ringing the doorbell,” Socialist MP Tamara Funiciello said at home, according to the report. ATS. Press Agency.
“Why should my wallet and my house be better protected than my body? ” she asked.
Green MP Raphael Mahaim agreed, insisting that “the other person’s body is never an open bar”.
But many right-wing lawmakers opposed this option, insisting it would create confusion and be difficult to put into practice.
Amnesty International hailed the vote as “a huge success after years of campaigning for the rights of women victims of sexual abuse”.
But the two chambers will now have to reach an agreement before the process can move forward.
And once that happened, the matter would likely be put to a popular vote under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.
A number of other European countries have begun to define rape as sexual acts without explicit consent, including Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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