EU’s first law against gender-based violence does not include definition of rape

This article was originally published in English

The first EU law to tackle violence against women has no common definition of the crime of rape, following the refusal of many member states.


basic format of First European law against sexual violenceIntroduced by the European Commission in March 2022, the crime of rape was defined as “non-consensual sexual intercourse”, without the victim needing to provide evidence of force, threat or coercion.

Therefore, it was based on the concept of “only yes is only yes“Which has already been implemented in several Member States amid the problem of sexual crimes against women and girls.

But after months of negotiations, 14 member countries they kept stopping Definition based on consent. These include Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic as well as France, Germany and the Netherlands. The most progressive nation in the block,

pending issues

Speaking from Strasbourg on Tuesday, Irish MEP Francis Fitzgerald, one of the European Parliament’s chief negotiators, said There is “unfinished work” in the block To protect women from violence.

“Many of us would have become A rather disturbing idea of ​​perspective Fitzgerald explained after the talks, “While we were unable to include a consent-based definition of rape in this directive, member states have a mandate for rape.

“Is great disappointmentGiven the horror of violence statistics across the Union,” he said.

around 5% of women in EU have been raped After turning 15, according to estimates by the bloc’s fundamental rights agency.

far from the original ambition

Fitzgerald recognized it There were “movements” in some capitalsSince 11 countries decided to join the agreed-upon definition during negotiations.

It was included in a last minute concession a review section To reconsider the scope of the Bill after five years of application. An article was also added hours before the final agreement, which obliges member states “Sensitizing” sexual consent and promoting a “consent-based culture”.

but this is too much far from the original ambition Formation of a commission to criminalize sex without consent across the block.

final bill Also criminalizes other forms of violence against women, such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation. It also closes existing legal loopholes in some EU countries on cyber violence, including online bullying and harassment.

He sending nude photos over the internet Non-consensual sharing of intimate and sexual images without the recipient’s consent, also known as revenge porn, will become a crime throughout the EU.

The rules will also apply on exchange of Obscene images generated by artificial intelligence. This singer comes after Taylor Swift victim Between “deepfakes” of nudity, and disturbing reports that there are explicit images generated by AI and sent between minors Increasing,

Rape definition divides Europe

France and Germany have been criticized Ban on defining rape as a crime across the EUSince support from any country would have been sufficient to approve a consensus-based definition.

Although this point is excluded Most member countries are parties to the Istanbul ConventionWhich establishes the absence of consent as the definition of rape.

“I must say that I am disappointed that some of those member states that have ratified the Istanbul Convention are This is beyond my understanding” said Swedish MEP Evin Inkyr, one of the main negotiators of the directive.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s reluctance to support the measure Controversy has erupted in France, Macron had promised to uphold women’s rights in his second term, but has come under criticism after defending the innocence of French actor Gerard Depardieu. After being accused of sexual harassment,

A French government spokesperson told Euronews that its position was based on purely legal reasonsGiven that criminal law is the responsibility of the Member States and, therefore, violations must be prosecuted at the national level.


france has something Strict punishment for sexual harassment All member states also have “generous and flexible” criteria for considering sexual assault as rape, the spokesperson said.

Question of skill?

The chief negotiators of the European Parliament recognized that legal capacity was an important factor in the resistance of some statesSaying that Eurosceptic sentiment and backlash against Brussels’ willingness to enforce the law had affected the dynamics of the talks.

Nevertheless, MEP Inkir made An appeal to President Macron “Take a step forward in favor of a definition of rape based on consent at least at the national level”, as well as calls from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to revise Italian rape laws based on the concept of “only yes means yes”. called upon. His government is in favor of a broad definition of the European Union.

Irene Rosales, head of policies and campaigns at the European Women’s Lobby, expressed “deeply” regret.Disgraceful decision of France and Germany Removal of Article 5 on the definition of consensual rape in accordance with the standards of the Istanbul Convention.

,This is completely hypocritical And a terrible missed opportunity to protect women and girls from one of the worst forms of violence,” he said.


The text from Tuesday’s talks must still be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before implementation,

(TagstoTranslate)Rape(T)Female Genital Mutilation(T)Forced Marriage(T)Gender Violence

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