“Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if the law was different.” Liva’s story

It took Liva quite some time to realise what had happened to her that night. She had convinced herself that she couldn’t remember, told friends she had blacked out, because she was embarrassed and didn’t want to remember.

“That was the lie I had been telling myself and everyone I knew.”

It was only when a friend told her about a similar experience to hers that the reality hit her: she had been raped.  

As she told Poliken newspaper in June 2017, the 25-year-old nursing student had gone to Roskilde Festival in 2015 with a group of friends. Among the group was a boy she liked and they bumped into each other at a party and decided to go for a walk. She says before she knew it, she was lying on the ground protesting as he tried to have sex with her.

”At some point some people passed by. I remember I came to myself and said, ’No, no, it's not possible. Stop, stop, stop’. He took his hand and kept my mouth shut.”

Afterwards, Liva didn’t consider contacting the police, partly because she was not entirely sure herself about what had happened, and partly because she didn’t feel the law would be on her side, because she didn’t think there was physical violence used and she had already known the man before.

“I think the law has a lot to do about, for example, why I didn’t realize it was a rape. Because it’s such a fragile situation , and a situation where you’re so ashamed, so if the law tells you that it’s not a rape if there’s no violence… maybe it wouldn’t have happened if the law was different.”

Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if the law was different.
Liva

The stories she had heard and read about how the police treat those who report rape also played a part in her decision not to contact them. Many women are put off reporting rapes because they fear they won’t be believed due to myths and stereotypes that exist.

“I knew that they would ask me if we kissed – and we had. And I knew him, and there wasn’t physical violence.”

But these things are all irrelevant if Liva did not consent to having sex.

Liva decided to tell her story to a newspaper and was glad when she finally shared it. Before that, she had been looking for articles or people with similar stories but couldn’t find any.

“A lot of women and girls got in touch with the newspaper afterwards because they’d had the same experience as me and had never heard that kind of story from others before.”

Sex without consent is rape. The law in Denmark must make this clear.

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