Thursday, July 05, 2012

Swedish court dismisses attempted rape because victim was transgender

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Swedish flag

Sweden may be awesome and all, but its criminal justice system reportedly leaves some to be desired, a notion only further solidified with this latest court case:

A man who attempted to rape a woman has been cleared of the charges by a Swedish court after it turned out that the woman he tried to rape was actually a man.

“The intended crime never had the possibility of being fulfilled,” explained judge Dan Sjöstedt of the Örebro District Court to local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

When the 61-year-old man had tried to commit the rape in Örebro, he had no idea that the intended victim was actually a man in women’s clothes, who had been taking hormonal treatment to reach the “right” identity, wrote the paper.

After following the woman for some time, the would-be rapist was “brutally violent” in the "attempted rape", tearing off the victim's pants and grabbing at the victim's crotch, according to the paper.


However, the court has ruled that the 61-year-old had intended to rape a woman, as he had been following her before the attack, making a conscious decision to rape her specifically. The man also referred to his victim as "she" throughout the court case.

As this “woman” was actually a man, his intentions were impossible to commit as the rape could never be completed.

I did some Googling but was unable to find any information on Sweden’s rape laws, specifically concerning how they’re applied with regards to the aggressor’s and victim’s respective genders. But it seems this case was dismissed plainly because the victim turned out to have a different pair of genitals than what the aggressor expected, which strikes me as an excuse that’s as absurdly unjust as they come. The man wanted to rape a woman, so the fact that his chosen target was actually transgender (and not a “man”, contrary to the report and its irksome use of sarcasti-quotes) means that his intention to commit sexual assault no longer matters?

At any rate, at least the attacker isn’t walking free, either, having received a conviction for assault and a sentence of four years in prison. But any charge less than “attempted rape” amounts to a travesty of justice nonetheless. The point is not that the assailant tried to rape someone of a particular gender, but that he committed sexual assault on another person at all.

I’d like to know whether Swedish courts routinely take such meaningless distinctions into account, or whether they’d still convict someone for attempted murder if it turned out their Swedish target was actually a Dane.

(via Joe. My. God.)