Image: protesters gathered in Berlin pushing for the introduction of ‘no means no’. Image Source.
In Germany, a place we’d all like to move to, a new law has been introduced that will broaden the definition of sex crimes by zoning in on the elsewhere ‘contentious’ issue of consent.
Simply called the ‘no means no’ law, it will seek to protect assault survivors who withheld consent but did not physically fight back, which specifically has not been recognised in reported cases in Germany. The legislation, as detailed by Justice minister Heiko Mass, also includes “the actual situations in which most attacks occur”, recognising cases in which a victim has been threatened with violence, intimidated, in an abusive relationship or taken by surprise.
The aim is to make sure “every non-consensual sexual act a punishable offence”, as stated by Eva Hoegl, Social Democrats MP and an advocate for the new law. Manuela Schwesig, Germany’s minister for women, has pointed out the important, but obvious, because it’s 2016: “In the past there were cases where women were raped but the perpetrators couldn’t be punished…The change in the law will help increase the number of victims who choose to press charges, lower the number of criminal prosecutions that are shelved and ensure sexual assaults are properly punished.”
The revision of the law has been in the works since 2011, but it was the mass attacks on over 1000 women last New Year’s Eve in Cologne that were the final catalyst to push through the change.
Story via The New York Times.
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