Absurd Consent-Related Laws That Still Affect Women’s Sexual Health Today

Japan, by most measures a progressive country, will have a political discussion on March 3, in order to revise their 1907 sexual assault legislation.

The current laws came to light after a few rape cases were examined by the Japanese Media. Last year, actor Yuka Takahata reportedly had his charges against raping a maid in a hotel dropped, claiming that he had “reached an agreement” with the woman.

But despite the country’s recent attempts at reforming rape law, Japan isn’t the only one that has fallen behind the times.

India and Marital Sex

According to The Huffington Post, in 2013, India confirmed that the rape between a married man and woman is perfectly legal.

Legislators presented parliament with the Criminal Law Bill, a report which highlights the specific instances in which rape is an act of criminalization.

For brides over the age of 15, rape between a husband and wife is not considered illegal in the eyes of the court.

From HuffPo,

“India has the world’s highest number of early marriages and while fewer girls younger than 15 are being married (18.2 percent), the rates for girls ages 15-18 has increased to 29.2 percent. Waiting a year eliminates ‘rape.'”


Sudan’s Recent Legislative Change

The last time the laws were altered in Sudan was 1991. Before the big change, rape victims were usually considered guilty of “zina,” or intercourse outside marriage.

In 2015, Reuters covered Sudan’s updated rape victim law:

The new Article 149 (1) replaced the vague reference to “sexual intercourse” found in the old text with a more precise and expansive definition of rape as sexual contact by way of penetrating any part of the body or any object into the vagina or anus of the victim.

The biggest change made was the defining the clear difference between rape and zina.


Oklahoma’s Laws Regarding Unconscious Oral Sex

Last year, The Guardian covered a unanimous Oklahoma court decision regarding oral sex performed by victim unconscious under the affects of alcohol.

In 2014, the case involving 16 year old girl with blood alcohol content over .34 stunned prosecutors and activists alike.

“The female student, who was 16 at the time, had drunk a large quantity of vodka; blood tests would later show her blood-alcohol level at .34, more than four times the legal limit to drive and indicative of severe alcohol poisoning, court records state.”

It was later revealed that the boy had traces of the boy’s DNA on her mouth. The court dismissed the case, stating that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that he raped her, or that she was too drunk to consent.

Rape is considered the “most serious form of sexual assault punishable by law,” yet the official definition of rape varies for every state and country.

Whether it’s on another continent or our home country, all rape laws should be reassessed and evaluated to ensure that both men and women feel comfortable enough to report any and all sexual assault crimes.

Profile photo of Julia Ismail
Julia Ismail

Julia likes Nickelback & is unapologetic about it.