The social consensus is clear: a sexual act requires the consent of all those involved. The “Only yes means yes” variant reflects this consensus. It would be different with the “No is no” variant. The contradiction solution presupposed the verbal or non-verbal defense, i.e. an active defense against the sexual act.
Although the factions of the SVP, the FDP and the center spoke out against the “Only yes means yes” variant, this solution prevailed in the National Council. This can also be attributed to the bourgeois women in the council, namely those from the FDP and Mitte. They came to different conclusions than their group colleagues.
Arguments from bourgeois men died away
The Federal Council and the conservative National Council complained in vain that the objection solution was clearer than the consent solution. Even a yes can be a yes out of fear or insecurity and not correspond to the will of the person at all.
On the other hand, crying or pushing away cannot be misunderstood as approval. The “No means no” variant is therefore easier to handle from a legal point of view. In addition, the victims would be given false hope that more lawsuits would be won with the consent solution.
This is by no means the case, said the left in particular: nobody thinks of wrong opportunities. The fact is: the differences between the variants are minimal in the practice of criminal proceedings. Because the absence of the unspoken no is just as difficult to prove as the absence of the unspoken yes.
The public prosecutor’s office must continue to question those involved several times, and they must continue to prove intent and guilt on the part of the perpetrator. This was a crime where usually only two people were present.
Signal effect convinced
Despite this, many in the Council supported the consent solution. Because for them it is clear: the “Only yes means yes” solution sends a different signal. Sexual self-determination means that sexual acts between two people take place at eye level, with mutual consent. While the “no means no” solution signals: Sexual acts are allowed until a person signals rejection.
In addition, according to the proponents of the consent solution, the victim of a rape in the “No means no” variant is said to be partly to blame because they did not defend themselves.
Stage victory for parliamentarians
For most of the women on the Council, the decision means a stage victory today. However, they face a rocky road, because the Council of States is against the consent solution. It won’t be easy to convince him next round.
Federal House correspondent TV
Christa Gall has been an editor at SRF since 2012 and for the TV Bundeshaus editorial team since 2018. Before joining SRF, she wrote for various newspapers and magazines.