Naiset sodomiitteina? Naistenkeskinen haureus suomalaisessa oikeusjärjestelmässä

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Women as sodomites? Female sodomy in the Finnish legal system

Female sodomy and fornication were recognised by European legislation and legal praxis as early as in the Middle Ages. Although it was implanted in western Christianity in St. Paul s letter to the Romans, very few sentences were actually passed for these crimes. In Finnish criminal law, female sodomy was included in 1894. As far as is known, there were altogether 51 women convicted, with the peak occurring in the 1950s. The practice was decriminalised in 1971. Elsewhere in Europe, only male sodomy was generally punishable. Apparently, the reason why the autonomous sexual subjectivity of a woman came to be entered in the criminal law was partly the personal influence of Jaakko Forsman and partly the changes in women s legal status towards the end of the nineteenth century. Later, legal scholars defined the concept of indecency in different ways. 'Homosexuality' was increasingly seen as an illness, something that had to do with the entire personality. In legal processes, however, acts between women were still conceptualised as individual acts of sodomy, whose models were searched in customary heterosexuality.