Controversy in EU: Women's safety law lacks rape definition

The European Union has made significant progress by agreeing on its first collective regulation aimed at combating violence against women.

Publication: 09.02.2024 - 14:31
Controversy in EU: Women's safety law lacks rape definition
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This legislation aims to protect women from gender-based physical or cyber violence, forced marriages, and female genital mutilation, marking a major step forward in the fight against gender-based violence.

Controversy Over Rape Definition

However, the regulation hit a roadblock when it came to defining rape. Despite initial proposals for a definition that did not require victims to prove coercion or threat, disagreements among member states led to its omission. This decision has been met with criticism, as it fails to ensure a unified stance on non-consensual sexual intercourse across all EU countries.

The debate highlighted the diverse legal frameworks within the EU, with some countries advocating for a "no means no" principle, while others, adhering to the Istanbul Convention, support the "only yes means yes" standard. The inability to reach a consensus reflects the complex legal and cultural landscapes across the EU.

The absence of a common definition of rape in the final text of the regulation has sparked disappointment among lawmakers and activists. Critics argue that the EU must continue its efforts to provide comprehensive protection against all forms of violence towards women, emphasizing the need for a clear legal stance on consent and sexual violence.

The regulation introduces critical measures against female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and cyber violence, including the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. It also calls for regular assessments to update and refine the legislation, demonstrating the EU's commitment to evolving its fight against gender-based violence. However, the controversy over the rape definition underscores the ongoing challenges in creating a cohesive legal framework across diverse member states.

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