Assange case: How is rape defined?
- 22 August 2012
- From the section Magazine
Warning: This piece contains explicit sexual detail
British MP George Galloway sparked outrage with his comments on the Julian Assange sexual assault allegations. But does the definition of rape vary significantly from country to country?
The MP for Bradford West said the allegations against Julian Assange, even if true, "don't constitute rape".
The idea that the allegations in Sweden against the Wikileaks founder do not constitute rape under English law has been debunked by a number of writers.
This week has also seen a row in the US over comments made by Senate candidate Todd Akin where he referred to "legitimate rape", but later said he'd spoken mistakenly.
Here we break down definitions in the law from England and Wales, the legal system from which Assange would be extradited, and Sweden, where he faces the allegations.
Also included for purposes of comparison are Scotland, with its separate legal system, the United States and Germany.
Reporting by Tom de Castella and Jon Kelly