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Swedish Judge Rules Man Not Guilty of Attempted Rape of Trans Woman Because She Has No Vagina

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At first glance this appears to be something right out the tabloids, but Örebro District Court Judge Dan Sjöstedt ruled that the planned rape by the attacker would have been impossible to carry out in the absence of a vagina. The attacker was instead charged with a considerably lesser crime.

According to a Swedish news report translated into English, the attacker brutally beat the victim and ripped off her pants in an attempt to rape her. A witness rushed to the scene and intervened. The police came and arrested the attacker.

While the Örebro District Court is convinced that the man was actually trying to rape the woman, they ruled that it was in fact a (cisgender) woman the man wanted to rape, not a "physical man," and although the court considered the fact that the victim had undergone hormone therapy to change gender, it still ruled that there was no completed rape.

With the help of readers of my earlier report on the matter and comments elsewhere in the blogosphere, much of the translation to this point appears to be factually correct.

Swedish readers say the rapist was instead charged with battery and sentenced to four months in jail. He was also fined 15,000 Swedish kronor, which goes to the victim. There is also a chance he may face further charges.

To no surprise, reaction to this decision from the trans community has mostly been one of disgust and outrage: A rape is a rape, vagina or no vagina, most seem to be saying. Some have wondered if the interruption factored into the decision; others say the ruling renders trans people subhuman if only vagina-seeking rapists can be charged with rape.

Complicating the matter is the Swedish judicial system: It's not thoroughly understood by many of us; however, some say that a better outcome for the victim may surface down the road. In short, in the Swedish system, lower-level judges are often likely to just follow the letter of the law and then pass it along to a higher court to handle the intent of Swedish law.

While this is not a good precedent for trans people, obviously, I am hoping that international transgender organizations look into this incident. I also look for a more detailed news report into this incident, hopefully one in English, as well, as half the time spent on this matter involves correctly interpreting the translation.