A Crime too Ordinary: Reflections on ‘Ordinary’ Sexual Violence in the Norwegian Context


The most common forms of sexual crimes are those that receive the least public attention – sexual violence that is conducted in the context of intimate relationships or in combination with alcohol, among friends, where the crime as such becomes a question not of sexual contact, but of consent. As such, they are the kind of crimes that are more contested, somehow harder to categorize and easier to legally dismiss (due to insufficient evidence). It’s the ‘ordinary’ sexual violence, the unsensational violence, that form part of so many people’s life – be they victims or offenders. In this panel we have this ‘ordinarity of sexual crimes’ as our point of departure. From a combination of disciplinary outsets, we explore both empirically and theoretically their forms and expressions, prevalent societal and legal narratives about them, and the ways in which we, as feminist researchers, conduct research, analyse, frame and re-present experiences with violent, but ordinary, sexual harms.  

The panel consists of four paper presentations:  

  • Understanding sexual violence perpetration among Norwegian youth as a gendered practice – masculinities, sexualities and normativities.  Anja E. Kruse, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS) 

  • Unconscious or for other reasons unable to resist: sexual harms that are (un)-  protected by the incapacitation requirement in Norwegian criminal law. Solveig Laugerud, Dept. of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo (UiO), & Anette B. Houge, Dept. of Health and Society, UiO. 

  • Sexual violence in intimate relations – some theoretical considerations. Margunn Bjørnholt, University of Bergen and researcher at NKVTS; Kari Stefansen, NOVA, Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) & Anja Bredal, NOVA, OsloMet. 

  • The political act of telling and listening to stories of sexual violence. Hannah Helseth, NKVTS. 


Solveig Laugerud is a postdoctoral researcher at the research consortium #EvidentlyRape, funded by UiO LifeScience, working from the Institute for Criminology and Sociology of Law at the Law Faculty, University of Oslo. Her research focuses on the production and translation of evidence in rape cases in the Norwegian civil and criminal justice system. Laugerud holds a PhD in Sociology of Law, from UiO, and has previously worked at the Centre for Gender Research and the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies. Her work is published in journals such as Feminist Legal Studies, Law and Society ReviewBioSocieties  and The International Journal of Evidence and Proof

Anette Bringedal Houge is a postdoctoral researcher at #EvidentlyRape, working from the Institute of Health and Society at the Faculty of Medicine.  She holds a PhD in Criminology, also from UiO (2017). Prior to her current position, she was the Head of Analyses at the Norwegian Red Cross. Overall, her research focuses on institutional responses to violent harms, with emphasis on the privileged role of criminal justice responses, and the juridification of societal and political understandings that this entails. Houge’s work is published in journals such as Aggression and Violent Behavior, Law and Society Review, International Criminal Justice Review, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and British Journal of Criminology.  

Published Sep. 21, 2021 1:02 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2021 1:02 PM