Man Acquitted of Attempted Rape Because His Victim Was Transgendered


This week a Swedish judge acquitted a man who attempted to rape a transgender victim. The perpetrator, who attacked a transgender woman outside of her apartment complex, stated that he believed his victim was a woman. After he pulled off her clothes and grabbed her crotch, the attacker discovered male genitalia. The victim and her ex-partner were able to pull the man off of her before police came to arrest him.

The legal system in Sweden offered no extra help to the victim in court proceedings. The reasoning behind the acquittal of the attacker? The perpetrator claimed that he believed his victim was a woman with female genitalia. The court sided with this explanation adding, as quoted by Queerty, “We believe that he wanted to rape… this woman. But as she proved to be a man, his plan [would] never have been possible.”

There are a number of problems with this logic. First and foremost, definitions of rape and attempted rape should not rest solely with the type of genitalia involved. Male and female bodies can be attacked and physically and emotionally harmed an unsettling number of ways, regardless of age, gender identity or sexual preferences. Secondly, this court decision intrinsically strips the victim of her personhood by making it “impossible” for her to be raped.

The court claims that since the attacker believed he was going to rape a woman with female genitalia his intended crime was basically only possible on an imaginary level, never mind that he forcefully removed clothing and grabbed at the victim’s body with every intention of violating her.

The judge concluded that the rape was “invalid” because the victim was anatomically a male. Instead, the perpetrator was convicted of assault and will pay just over $2,000 in damages to the woman.

The case is not over yet. It is highly likely that it will be turned over the Court of Appeals for further consideration. Sweden has made variable legislative progress for LGBT rights. Edge Boston points out that Sweden was the first country to remove homosexuality from classification as a mental illness. Sweden also allows same-sex couples to marry.

Yet, Sweden also lags far behind in transgender rights. People that have surgery to change genders must still agree to be sterilized. Lawmakers failed to overturn this 40-year-old rule this past February. This newest court decision regarding rape further suggests that transgender people are often considered less-than-human in a country that boasts the highest percentage of men who experience non-consensual rape in Europe. Simplistic, outdated definitions of rape threaten to downplay the severity of this type of attack and may set a disturbing precedent in Sweden.


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Photo Credit: Stefano Bolognini


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

"CWAP" Forgot about the limited letters I can use in a posting. Will try and remember what I wrote.....
The judicial system of Sweden isn't fool proof. Far from it! There have been several criminal cases that have led to the aquittal of the defendant where evidence have poited towards guilt. There are also, unfortunately as I see it, an American influence. More and more cases lead to aquittal due to so called technicalities. Obviously guilty people are set free because of diffuse decisions made by the courts to disapprove of evidence. One case comes to mind. A man reported his fiancee missing. She eventually turned up, but dead. Murdered and set on fire and buried. At the same place, the man was found. He claimed to have been abducted by strange men and had spent days in a car boot. But evidence presented in court showed pictures taken of and by him from places in Stockholm, several hundred miles from where he lived, at the same time he was supposed to be kidnapped. He had also taken out a life insurance of his bride-to-be, with him as beneficiary, shortly before the woman ended up dead. He was aquitted in both courts and the Supreme Court would not take the case.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

The judgment will be appealed, if it hasn't already. BTW, the law in Sweden is gender neutral when it comes to sexual assault. It wasn't before, but opinion, several studies and commissions and several court cases forced the law makers to change the law.
The juidicial system in Sweden consists of two parts. One deals with criminal law and the other with Govt. authoroties. This is of course a simplification, but it would take to long to describe it all. The criminal courts are three: The District Courts (Tingsrätten), The Regional Courts (Hovrätten) and the Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen). A court case before the District Court, can be appealed to the Regional court by both the defense and the prosecution. In some cases, the Supreme Court will allow a case (specially if it's necessary to set a presedence) to be re-tried and they will then send it back to the Regional Court.
The District Courts consists of a majority lay-persons and a judge, appointed by the political parties. The Regional Court have a majority of judges and a minority of lay-persons and the Supreme Court has only judges. There's a growing movement to change these traditions and there's a lot of critcism surrounding the average age (very high), few representatives of immigrants and the lack of education among those lay-persons. I have no statistics, only a feeling, that most cases that are appealed, gets a different verdict in the Regional Courts.
The judicial system of Sweden isn't fool pr

Shaira Leah G.
Shaira Leah G.5 years ago

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Howard C.
.5 years ago

As I understand it the term 'rape' is generally used to describe an assault where there is interecourse against the will of one party - it follows therefore that 'attempted rape' is a situation where are person is attacked with the intention of having intercourse with them. Surely it doesn't matter what stopped the rape going ahead - it might have been that someone intervened, it doesn't matter, the intention to rape was there! Possibly the Law in Sweden doesn't reflect this, if this is the case then hopefully the Swedish Government will look at changing this Law in order that everyone is equally protected from what is, in my opinion, amongst the most serious of crimes - rape..

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

I completely disagree with the judges ruling....Rape is rape, PERIOD!

Haleene W.
Haleene W.5 years ago

I don't care if he was raping a dog. Rape is rape. The very definition of having sex with a unwilling partner. How is that confusing? Same sex, so what? Ask any new prison inmate if his stay there involved rape or consent.
At the very least it was "attempted rape."
You can't just blame the judge, it took the jurors to cause the decision. He simply carried it out. Tough I don't know about that country, he may have had the right to toss that decision out for lack of justice.

BMutiny TCorporationsAreE

So "men can't be raped".
There is ONE way that the RAPIST can find out if that is true or not.
And it ain't pretty.
The JUDGE can find out for himself, too, if he wants to research it.
It's not something I'd generally wish on people.....

Helen K.

Well, the $2000 damages should pay for new clothes and some of the counselling sessions needed to deal with it. I hope the assault charge results in some serious jail time.

Jami W.
Jami W.5 years ago

This victim may not have had a vagina (yet) but I believe she probably had an anus. That generally qualifies as a bodily orifice capable of penile penetration. Although in the opinion of this Swedish judge, perhaps forced anal penetration does not constitute rape, either, since a vagina isn't involved. Does that mean that in Sweden, a man cannot rape another man?

Melanie Victoria
Melanie Victoria5 years ago

Who gives a flying pigh shit if the intended victim happened to be anatomically male? This person intended to rape another human being- gender is irrelevant. This person should be punished for attempting to rape another human being. It is disgusting to excuse this monster's crime simply because the victim was correct anatomically. Additionally, is this not an affront to transgender individuals? So an attempt to rape them is suddenly less relevant because their gender doesn't match their appearance? Give me a f**king break. Rape is rape. Attempted rape is attempted rape. PERIOD. By the way, this man clearly had the intention to rape a woman and will be successful next time because Swedish law makers did not see fit to incarcerate this slimebag.