Freedom faction members Morgana Danielė and Ieva Pakarklytė set a new goal for the party in order to curb sexual violence. Achieving that in couples before intercourse, persons give each other a clearly expressed voluntary consent to the act of love – otherwise, it will already be a crime and criminal liability can be applied to those who do not receive consent.
It is true that the members of the Seimas cannot answer in what form that clear consent must be given – in writing or orally. Therefore, both other members of the Seimas and the people began to speculate how it would be necessary to implement it in reality – to go to a notary or if it would be enough for the husband or wife to just nod their head.
Members of the Freedom faction, M. Danielė and I. Pakarklytė, intend to deal a serious blow to sexual violence in Lithuania and are preparing a package of laws in which they propose to change the Penal Code – before having sexual intercourse, a person will have to obtain a clearly expressed consent from his partner.
“Enshrining in our legal structures that voluntary and clearly expressed consent is very important and this is the main condition. Everything else is irrelevant. If this consent does not exist, then the act is a crime”, says M. Danielė.
Whatever that consent should be – verbally, in writing, nodding the head or in any other way, M. Danielė cannot answer.
“You really don’t need to sign anything, and really spouses and wives, they are women, not snakes, as I say, and certainly not all Lithuanian women will run to complain about their husbands now. There is no need to be intimidated by it. I think that in cases when women turn to me, they will say that my free will was not there, so it was not there. And the court will examine it,” says M. Danielė.
And the members of the Seimas, although they agree that sexual relations require the consent of both partners, but do not understand how that consent should be given. So some seymūns have a fit of laughter. They call the law absurd.
“It’s bad here. There will be no meeting here either, if you need to ask questions. This is a formality. It leads to bureaucracy,” says Seimas member Valdemaras Valkiūnas.
“Well, here is just a very funny story, I would say so, and we can only have a good laugh about it. And I think that the legislator, the Seimas, will really be smart and the legislature will not support such initiatives,” says Seimas member Rasa Budbergytė.
“I know the American tradition of consent by voice. What if one of the partners is mute, and what if both are mute?” – says Seimas member Eugenijus Gentvilas.
“If we get to the point of proof, it should mean a written consent”, says Seimas member Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė.
“When is it already clear when you can have that relationship?” What do you have to do? Write a note? – I find it strange that some colleagues are unclear,” says Seimas member Agnė Širinskienė.
“Go to the notary and formalize the contract,” says Seimas member Kęstutis Masiulis.
“A verbal agreement should be enough, but how to prove that verbal agreement afterwards, if one side decides that coercion was used, I have no idea,” says Seim member Jurgita Sejonienė.
“We will learn, probably we will have to sign the contract on some kind of napkin if such a provision of the law is adopted,” says Seimas member Linas Slušnys. And it can be especially confusing whether your partner agrees to have sex with you in Bulgaria, because nodding your head down does not mean “yes” at all, on the contrary, it means “no”.
And the draft law seems unclear to some people from Šiauliai. Men joke that angry wives or husbands will complain in retaliation, and it will be impossible to prove verbal consent:
“It won’t be formal, you’ll go and complain and that’s it, you’re on your way.”
“How to capture it, I just can’t imagine how it could work in practice in principle.”
“You also need consent with your wife. And now the same. He will say he has a headache and he won’t. Well, that’s it.”
“Status is a family thing. The second thing, friends, acquaintances, when they say, I tried honey, and then I climb.”
According to the authors of the project, sexual violence is still shrouded in myths. People imagine that there was no sexual crime if no physical violence was used. According to M. Danielė, the statistics show that in 2018, there were almost 8,000 cases of physical violence, while there were only 33 cases of sexual violence.
“According to myths, they say that in 65 percent of cases, people think that the woman asked for the sexual act herself, because she had a short skirt. This is an interpretation here. Vat man allows himself to interpret. When he knows that he must have consent and this is the only prerequisite, it will be easier for the whole society and the person himself to catch up,” says M. Danielė.
According to I. Pakarklytė, one of the authors of the law package, only 1 out of 4 victims report a sexual crime.
As a result, members of the Seimas also suggest establishing specialized centers for sexual violence. About 300-400 thousand euros would be allocated to them from the state budget.
“Common perception of when sexual violence begins.” After all, harassment is not normal. We do not have such a common understanding, it is a kind of educational mission here. Start to introduce those concepts more, that there is no harassment, that flirting and harassment are different”, assures I. Pakarklytė.
The members of the Seimas will present the package of sexual violence laws next week.
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