Fatta – meaning “get it” in Swedish – is a Swedish non-profit organisation fighting sexual violence and working for affirmative consent in legislation as well as in practice. Today’s society and legal system has a problematic view of gender, sexuality and rape. But we believe that change is possible. And that we, together, can create that change. We welcome everybody, regardless of gender, to take part in creating a society where affirmative consent is the norm.
Fatta was born in September of 2013, in response to a high-profile rape case in the northern city of Umeå. Three young men, charged with raping a 15-year-old girl with a wine bottle until she was bleeding, were acquitted – to widespread public outrage. The organisations Femtastic and Make Equal decided to join forces and take action. As a result, Fatta was born.
Since its inception, Fatta has worked tirelessly to push for new rape legislation in Sweden. The current legislation does not do enough to protect those who have been subjected to rape and sexual assault. Many victims feel hesitant to report crimes out of fear of being subjected to humiliating treatment by the police as well as the court system. By acquitting offenders despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt, our legislation has served only to uphold destructive gender norms.
It is our demand that mutual consent be included in the legislation, along with the crime of negligent rape. It should not matter what the victim wore, whether they were intoxicated or whether the perpetrator intended to commit rape. It should be made clear that sex is based on mutual consent, respect and reciprocity. And that the absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes” – not in the eyes of society, and not in the eyes of the law. 2018 we are closer than ever to reaching that goal. Updates to the legislation, including sexual consent and negligent rape, were presented in December and, if passed, could enter into effect in July of this year. http://www.government.se/press-releases/2017/12/new-sexual-offence-legislation-based-on-consent/
Changing destructive gender norms
Today’s gender norms are a contributing factor in sexual violence. They teach men that aggression is admirable, asking for permission is weak and talking about how you feel is unmanly. At the same time they teach women that their right to their own bodies is not respected. That they are there for public consumption. This is a toxic cocktail. In order to change these detrimental norms we need to work actively in all walks of society. From kindergarten to the court system and all the way up to Parliament.
We believe that the new legislation will serve both a practical and normative purpose. But to achieve permanent change, as a society we also need to allocate resources to continue working on gender norms, sex and sexual violence.