New German Rape Law States ‘No Means No’

In major news, Germany’s parliament has passed legislation defining rape, clarifying that ‘no means no’, even if the victim doesn’t fight back.

Close up of woman holding her face in her hands

For a long time now, many people have considered Germany behind the times on the way it classes rape. And it has to be said, the old definition was truly shocking.

Under the previous law, defined in Section 177 of the criminal code (in German), victims should have defended themselves for an act to constitute rape. Simply saying “No” was not sufficient to find the defendant guilty, and there was no attempt to define what constituted consent.

Yes, you did read that right. If a woman said ‘no’, but she didn’t fight back, then she wasn’t considered to have been raped. In the 21st century, I find that astounding.

Wonderful Scenes

MPs stood and cheered when the law was passed.

“In the past there were cases where women were raped but the perpetrators couldn’t be punished,” Minister for Women Manuela Schwesig said.

“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 problems with the law meant many of the accused got away with rape, according to a 2014 study of 107 cases by the German association of women’s counselling centres and rape crisis centres.

In every case, the study stated that the women had refused consent, but charges were either not filed, or convictions were not obtained.

Now it seems that things will be different. The authorities take into account both physical and verbal cues from the victim when assessing whether anyone had been raped. This means that, in theory, saying no will show a lack of consent, and therefore rape.

It isn’t the first time Germany has been behind the times when it comes to this offence. Apparently marital rape only became illegal in 1997. Once again, you did hear me right. In Germany, you couldn’t rape your wife until 1997. It actually makes by brain itch.

The Reality of Rape

The most concerning thing about the old German law, is that is didn’t take into account that many women (or men) freeze when they are attacked. Or they may be deliberately passive so nothing worse happens to them. It totally missed the idea of what rapes are often like.

I never knew the rape law was so bad on Germany. What I will say though, is that they should be applauded for making the changes now. With any luck, it means that more victims will get the justice they deserve.

As the old saying goes, ‘better late than never’.

Martin Ward
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Martin Ward

Martin Ward is a well respected editor and writer with over five years experience in the adult industry. After stints in the Escort Advertising call centre and on the escort forum, he moved into the site editor position around three years ago.

Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.

When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
Martin Ward
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