The new law should better protect victims of involuntary sex or sexual harassment. Now ‘coercion’ is still the criterion, but soon someone will be punishable if there has been deliberate sex against the will of the other.
According to the minister, the bar is now too high to prove whether there has been coercion in, for example, an assault or rape. Declarations can therefore not always be picked up. For example, the victim may freeze for fear and therefore cannot express or resist, so that the perpetrator is not punished.
Amnesty disagrees with the law because “sex against the will” will count as a new offense, with less punishment than rape.
“Sex against the will must always be treated as rape. There must be no new offense. The rape offense must be adjusted,” head gender program Martine Goeman tells NOS.
That is why the organization commissioned the investigation to find out how the Dutch view the legislation surrounding rape. Of the 2000 respondents, 84 found that there were never mitigating circumstances for a rape. Almost everyone says that there is also rape if a victim freezes or is under the influence and therefore does not say ‘no’.
“We are shocked”
However, there is a small group of men (11 percent) who think it is a soothing rape condition if a woman doesn’t say “no.” Among men between the ages of 16 and 35, 20 percent think that.
“We are shocked that there is still a group of men who think there may be mitigating circumstances for rape,” said Yara Boff Tonella of Amnesty International in AD. “It shows that in the new law this should just be called rape, and it should be just as severely punished.”