This week, Switzerland’s Federal Council agreed that Switzerland’s legal definition of rape should be extended, reported RTS.
Currently, Swiss law defines rape as vaginal penetration by a man where the woman has resisted, a narrow definition that excludes male victims and cases where a woman has not resisted, for example in cases where resisting would put the individual at risk of greater violence.
This week, a government commission looking at the issue put forward its recommendations, which include extending the definition to all non consensual penetration (vaginal or anal) of both men and women, and including anyone who forces another to rape as a perpetrator.
The Federal Council also agreed that the concept of resistance should be abandoned. However, it stopped short of requiring expressed consent, opting instead for the principle of “no means no”.
According to a survey requested by Amnesty International Switzerland published on 12 April 2022, 45% agreed that the concept of expressed consent offered the best protection against sexual violence, 27% favoured the notion of “no means no”, while only 13% supported the status quo. The response was similar for both men and women. 47% of women favoured expressed consent compared to 44% of men.
The commission also proposed several levels of criminality: without resistance, with resistance involving cruelty, and using dangerous weapons. Penalties would depend on severity and rise to up to 20 years in prison.
In addition, the commission proposed sanctions for transferring private sexual content without consent, for example publishing intimate photos or videos without the permission of any identifiable person in them.