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Court frees accused rapist: 'no' isn't enough

Published: 28 Nov 2012 08:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2012 08:05 GMT+01:00

A man charged with raping a woman in central Sweden has been acquitted after the court ruled that despite the victim saying "no", she didn't protest vigorously enough.

"She wasn't able to describe either violence or threats, and therefore it's not rape according to the letter of the law," prosecutor Barbro Brännlund told the local Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT).

The woman reported the rape to police in Karlstad about a year and a half ago, explaining that an acquaintance had forced her to have sex with him against her will.

She told the man "no" repeatedly and did her best to hold her legs together, the woman told investigators.

But when the man refused to stop, the woman "shut down", allowing the man to carry out the act.

As there was no forensic evidence in the case, it became of matter of one's word against the other's.

While the court explained that it found the woman's version of events credible, the man was ultimately freed because it "hadn't been shown beyond a reasonable doubt" that the man had forced the woman to have sex with him.

Brännlund is concerned that women in Sweden may not understand what's required for to secure a rape conviction.

"Even if a no is a no, it's not enough to just say it for it to be rape," she told the paper.

"In my mind, there's no doubt whatsoever that the woman perceived this as an attack. But the man never realized that."

The case almost never made it to court because evidence was so thin and the prosecutor has signalled she's unlikely to appeal the court's ruling.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

09:13 November 28, 2012 by RobinHood
Once you get past the provocative and misleading headline interpretation of the prosecutor's rationale, this matter was decided on the evidence. She said one thing, he said another; and there wasn't a scrap of evidence proving who told the truth and who didn't, or what was understood or misunderstood by the couple.

Most first-world countries agree, this type of "he said, she said" cases are not enough to prove rape beyond the necessary reasonable doubt. There are some in Sweden who want to reverse the burden of proof so that the rapist must prove the victim consented, rather than the victim having to prove that he/she didn't. One presumes that involves filling in a legal document before the act. How romantic!
10:07 November 28, 2012 by texaslass
I agree that this headline is misleading. It seems that the trial was followed in accordance with the law. However, we do not know the whole story.

The article does not mention anything about him ripping her clothes off, so maybe she took her clothing off willingly. I think if a woman is uncomfortable with a man, it is best to keep the clothing on, then there are no misunderstandings. This requires some level of common sense.
10:26 November 28, 2012 by engagebrain
Was the man deaf ?

So to be able to complain about rape you have to say no and get beaten up.
11:31 November 28, 2012 by NyDag
Great, I'll use this argument next time i'm helping myself to the tills at the local ICA. "no isn't enough"
11:40 November 28, 2012 by ThePassenger
So, if I don't misinterpret the Swedish laws, if the rapist holds a knife or a gun the victim should still resist as much as possible so she can provide a stabbing or a gunshot as evidence? Otherwise the weapon threat will still be a matter of "his word against hers"?
15:23 November 28, 2012 by Uncle
ThePassenger

"So, if I don't misinterpret the Swedish laws"

I believe that you do. Presence of weapon + intent constitutes danger to life by definition. Presence of a PERSON does not constitute a threat.

The above case is very much alike a theoretical case where you run to the police and claim that a larger than you person came to you and told you to give him your money and after temporary disagreement you gave him the cash.

At the same time you cannot prove that you indeed had the money (no receipts, or recordings from a cash machine = no injuries to the "raped") or that he threatened you in any other way except just being physically larger than you. Your word should not put him behind bars for 10 years for robbery.

And yes - it is better to release 100 criminals than to put in an innocent person in a democratic and advanced society.
16:42 November 28, 2012 by k2kats
Outrageous. "No" means no.... the first time it's said. If the man had no malicious intent, he would have listened and stopped.

To penalize the woman for having a classic response among rape victims is an absolute travesty.
20:16 November 28, 2012 by Svensksmith
As others have mentioned, we do not know the whole story. On general principal, however, no means no. Period.
23:08 November 28, 2012 by dizzymoe33
No means No and that is all there is to it!! Stupid Swedish laws when it comes to rape.
10:35 November 29, 2012 by clearandpresenttruth
Hmmm... Very interesting news.

I would imagine the Assange case will now be treated in the same manor then.

...or do the standard convenient Svensk double standards also apply?

Swedish Transparency at it's best : )
22:29 November 30, 2012 by theobserver
This is very strange. I heard that, in Sweden, if, during intercourse, the woman says he wants the man out, he should immediately obey, else he will be charged for rape. The case at hand seems to be in contradiction with the strict rape laws.
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