According to Finland’s Ministry of Justice, under the proposed sex crime laws, men who send unsolicited pornographic images to women could face up to six months in prison.
Under current law, sexual harassment only involves touching, while sending pictures of specific organs is not considered a sexual offense. As a result, such offenders can only be punished under the country’s defamation law.
According to the report, a statement from the Ministry of Justice stated that the definition of sexual harassment is being expanded to address the issue, which includes “verbal harassment, harassment through pictures or messages, one’s own or someone else’s.” This includes actions such as taking pictures or promoting them.
There are different punishments for these crimes which are given in the form of fines or imprisonment depending on the seriousness of the crime. Sami Kariakos, an adviser to the Finnish Ministry of Justice, told AFP that the proposed laws could be sent to the government “next year” for a vote in parliament.
“Sexual harassment is very common,” he said, adding that “it is important to consider ways to deal with it legally.”
Her statement came after a study by charity Plan International, which works for children’s rights, found that more than half of the 14,000 women surveyed had been sexually harassed online.
According to the report, the women in the survey were between the ages of 15 and 25, with 35% saying they had been sent “unwanted sexual or obscene images.”
Although online sexual harassment has not yet been criminalized in some countries. Scotland made it a crime in 2010, while those who send unsolicited sex images to the US state of Texas can be fined up to $500. In addition to expanding the definition of sexual harassment in Finland, the new law will change the definition of rape and give sex the status of rape without consent. Under current law, rape can only be defined as physical violence or a physical threat.