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Parliament Votes to Change Definition of Rape

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Parliament Votes to Change Definition of Rape

Police car

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Parliament has approved a bill which changes the legal definition of rape, RÚV reports.

In its new form, the bill foregrounds the imperative for consent. Anyone who has sexual intercourse or other sexual contact with someone without their consent is then guilty of rape, subject to anywhere from one to 16 years in prison. Consent is considered valid when it is expressed of a person’s own free will.

Prior to this, rape was defined as sexual intercourse or contact with violence, threats, or other form of unlawful compulsion. The bill’s first sponsor, the Reform Party’s Jón Steindór Valdimarsson, said that changing public attitudes were a factor in the bill’s creation and that it was long since time to reject the thinking that a man practically has the right to have sex with a woman.

48 MPs voted in the new bill’s favor, while 14 MPs were absent and there was one abstention—Karl Gauti Hjaltason of the People’s Party.

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