1 in 5 Dutch young men thinks lack of clear 'no' mitigates rape: survey

1 in 5 Dutch young men thinks lack of clear 'no' mitigates rape: survey
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One in five young (16-35 years old) men indicated that they consider it a mitigating factor if the victim does not clearly say "no" or does not explicitly defend themselves during a rape, according to a survey in the Netherlands.

A large majority of Dutch people (84%) believe that there are never mitigating circumstances for rape. However, men see them more often (18%) than women (8%), and younger men are more likely to see mitigating reasons for rape than older men or women.

The survey, conducted by I&O Research, among more than 2,000 people in the Netherlands was commissioned by Amnesty International.

"One in five boys aged 16-17 and men up to 35 think that if the victim does not explicitly defend themselves or does not say 'no' clearly, this can be a mitigating reason for rape," the report says.

If the victim is drunk or under the influence of drugs, approximately one in ten young men between 16 and 24 years old think it is a mitigating reason for rape.

Over 75% of the Dutch population believes that sex without mutual consent should be seen as rape. Nine out of ten Dutch people surveyed also indicated that they consider sex as rape if the victim 'froze' or was under the influence.

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The survey was carried out as part of the #LetsTalkAboutYES campaign in the Netherlands. With this campaign, Amnesty International wants to initiate a dialogue about sex and consent, especially among young people.

According to the current law in the Netherlands, it only counts as rape if (the threat of) violence or coercion can be proven. In many cases, however, resistance is not possible because the victim freezes in fear or has been drugged.

Dutch Minister for Justice and Security Grapperhaus wants to introduce a new crime: sex against someone's will, which would be punishable, but by a lighter sentence than rape. According to Amnesty, sex without consent should not only be punishable, but should also be recognised as rape.

In Belgium, according to Art. 375 in the penal code, rape is "any act of sexual penetration of any kind and by any means, committed against a person who does not consent."

"The perpetrator does not need to have used force. The victim does not have to have physically resisted either," according to Liesbet Stevens, professor of Sexual Criminal Law.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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