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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 8 - 14  > Sex crime victims demand that sex without consent be punished as crime
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2019 May 8 - 14 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Sex crime victims demand that sex without consent be punished as crime

May 14, 2019

An organization called "Spring" which consists of sex crime victims and their supporters submitted a written demand to Justice Minister Yamashita Takashi on May 13, seeking the implementation of legal provisions to criminalize sex without consent.

At present, the Japanese Penal Code stipulates that the crime of rape or sexual coercion must meet a requirement that the victim was assaulted or intimidated by a threat of physical violence so that resisting sexual intercourse was deemed extremely difficult. Because of this legal definition, in cases where victims were unable to resist due to the existence of unequal power relations, for example, between "a boss and a subordinate" or "a teacher and a student", or due to the freeze response due to fear, defendants are acquitted.

In fact, several defendants in March were found not guilty on the ground that the victims' "degree of resistance" to sexual assault was minimal although their sexual abuse was judged to be "without consent".

Spring demands that the "through assault or intimidation" and "inability to resist" provisions be removed from the Penal Code and that sex without consent be penalized. Spring also demands that a new provision be created so as to define non-consensual sex by taking advantage of a hierarchical relationship or a relation of inequality as a crime.

On the same day, the organization also submitted a written demand to the Supreme Court, seeking its input on the issue based on surveys of sexual violence as well as on psychiatric data pertaining to "assault or intimidation" and "inability to resist".

Yamamoto Jun, a Spring representative director, at a press conference held after the submission said, "It has been said that 'to prove there was no consent is very difficult'. I hope that the law will be revised so that victims can be recognized as victims."

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