Activists in Denmark demand a consent based law against rape

Danish activists have urged the social-democratic government to enact legislation against rape that focuses on consent

August 15, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Around 24 organisations took part in Friday’s demonstration in Copenhagen. #SamtykkelovNu (Consent Law Now)

Hundreds of people demonstrated in Copenhagen on August 14, Friday, to demand that the government draft a consent law to ensure proper legal protection for rape victims. The gathering was organised by around 24 groups including Everyday Sexim Project, Women’s Council, Denmark’s Social Democratic Youth (DSU), Socialist Youth Front (SUF), Red Green Youth etc. The participants in the march wore masks and gloves adhering to COVID-19 safety protocol.

According to Arbejderen.dk (The Worker), the demonstrators demanded that the government should immediately announce and submit proposals for a new consent-based rape law. The incumbent social democrat coalition government led by Mette Frederiksen and the coalition partners including the Red Green Alliance had earlier agreed to introduce a consent-based legislation. However, a report released in February from the Criminal Law Council on a new rape law, claimed that a majority expresses concern about a consent law and stated that “the new law should be based on voluntariness based on an attitude that the requirement of consent can criminalize what some describe as normal sexual behavior, where the woman is passive.” The report’s recommendation triggered criticism from many including leftists and feminists in the country.

Prior to the demonstration on Friday, Everyday Sexism Project Denmark has stated that “we need consent law, and it must be without exceptions and without strange interpretations that in certain situations you still have a duty to stand up. Passivity, flirting and clothing can never be consent. It simply can’t be true that in many other daily practices we can figure out how to ask for consent, and then make it a problem that you have to make sure you don’t hurt another person because it acts about sex. If you don’t think it’s important to get consent before sex, you send a signal that you’re more afraid of getting a no than you’re afraid of going to commit an assault.”

“Sex is lovely, delicious and sometimes amazing, but it can also be dirty, boring and indifferent, and it’s totally okay – it’s not important how you do it, but it’s important that it’s with consent. Let’s get a law that gives protection to victims and sends a signal to society about what is right and wrong and  thus can help change our culture in a better direction,” they added.

The Danish Social Democratic Youth has also voiced demands for the government to advance towards consent-based rape legislation.

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