The “No Means No” law has officially passed in Germany, which should help make it easier for rape victims to convict their attackers. Previously, it had been easy for sex offenders to get away with the crime because the victim simply protesting wasn’t enough to be considered a legal statement.
The definition of “rape” has expanded in recent years, and Germany was one of the last to adopt the recent definition. The most common version has always been sexual penetration through the female’s lower regions, and even that wasn’t considered enough to convict a perpetrator.
Rape is technically one of the worst crimes a woman can face. If the rapist is successful, the male only faces consequences legally. The woman may have to choose between abortion or up to 19-plus years of the results, and neither is ideal. Many women, even in the United States, have claimed to be too scared to press charges because they don’t think anyone will believe them.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 7, 2016
There were some cases where the male was the victim. However, that’s not the point here.
Germany passes new law on rape – ‘No means no’ even if a victim does not fight back: https://t.co/7tKVCSeGDE
— Jayne McCormack (@JayneMcCormack) July 7, 2016
Germany’s “No Means No” law could help give women the confidence to bring more sexual assault aggressors to justice, but the women will still need to fight the urge to stay silent.
Manuela Schwesig, Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, stated what the intention will hopefully accomplish.
“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.”
Now, if a woman in Germany is being sexually assaulted, it’s actually enough to remember the “No Means No” law and clearly protest. It doesn’t matter if she’s drunk and playing around. If she says “no,” she is legally off limits.
This even expands to groping, which is considered sexual harassment in the United States or an unwanted advance. This action is enough to get a person fired in the workplace. Migrants who are ignorant of the “No Means No” law can be easily deported for defying it in Germany now.
The beginning of the actions leading to the creation of Germany’s new rape law happened in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, when a string of rape cases suddenly burst into awareness. Allegedly, the attacks were spawned by a mob who felt the desire to set off some fireworks of their own indoors, and the women may have been too inebriated to fight them off.
One case was model Gina-Lisa Lohfink, who had videotaped the attack. Two men had allegedly drugged and had sex with her, and she had uploaded the video to the internet. In the video, she can be clearly heard telling them “no” and “stop it.”
Much like in the United States up to this point, Germany has faced an 8 percent conviction rate, and those were from the one in 10 women who actually came forward.
Campaigners for the “No Means No” law claim that it doesn’t go far enough, and if a victim is drugged to the point of being unconscious, they may be unable to protest before it’s too late. They also believe it doesn’t provide adequate protection for victims who come forward.
One campaigner, Kristina Lunz, said that the “No Means No” law should actually be renamed “Yes Means Yes.”
[Image via Torin55/Shutterstock.com]