Should Accused Rapist Have To Prove Consent?

Two legal experts are suggesting an interesting revision of Swedish criminal law that would compel a person charged with rape of a woman to prove that he had her consent before engaging in sex. Eva Diesen, a lawyer, and Christian Diesen, a professor of criminal law, examined 1,200 rape reports and presented their findings under the heading: “Attacks Against Women and Children.” Since 1965, when Sweden first enacted a sex crime law, about 100 to 200 rapists have been convicted each year, but the number of rapes that were reported has increased from about 300 to 5,000. The two argue that rape should be classified as a violation of personal integrity rather than a violent crime. The law at present says a woman is sexually available until she says no or puts up resistance.

The argument that a man must prove he did something to ensure the woman was consenting to sex raises many legal and moral issues. It certainly shifts the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused. The entire issue is already a gray area of confusion as male and female argue as to whether or not consent was given. Perhaps, we need a process of determining the meaning of consent or no consent.