What is Sexual Integrity? Exploring the Limit of Sexual Offences
In 2003 four boys were prosecuted for trying to penetrate the victim’s anus with a clothes-hanger during a football camp. The court held that none of the boys had performed the act in purpose to arouse or satisfy neither the victims, nor their own sexual drive. Hence, the boys were not found guilty to any sexual offence.
This case highlights the legal difficulties in deciding what acts should be recognized as sexual crimes. The guiding line is the primary good of sexual offences, stated in the Swedish legislation as the absolute right of every individual to sexual integrity and sexual self-determination. Thus, sexual offences are distinguished from other offences by there purpose to protect the sexual integrity. But what is sexual integrity? Who has sexual integrity and in what situations?
In this paper I explore the issue of sexual integrity by analysing the law and cases of sexual molestation in the Swedish Penal Code ch 6 s 10. I aim to investigate the boundary between sexual and non sexual acts in criminal law by asking where and how the limit is drawn: When is an act, behaviour or orientation sexual in a legal sense? How is the field of sexual offences constructed in relation to, for example, body and identity, private and public, gender and age?
This paper is part of my doctoral project which, in a wider perspective, is concerned with the legal construction of sexuality and the law’s capability to deal with the subject of sexuality.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/linnea_wegerstad/2/