Amnesty International asks Greece to redefine ‘rape’

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Amnesty International has called on the Greek State to amend the definition of rape to base it on the lack of consent rather than on resistance and violence committed.

The call was made at a press conference on Tuesday by the Greek chapter of Amnesty International to the Ministry of Justice which said that the current amendments proposed by the Greek government “do not deal with the inadequacies of the legislation,” and expressed “grave concern that the current explanation in article 336 and the proposed amendment focus on resistance and violence, instead of on the lack of freely given consent,” as international law does.

Amnesty International began its European campaign on amending the definition of rape two years ago calling on governments to legislate the legal definition of rape as based on lack of consent instead of just on the use of physical violence or any other kind of violence, AIG director Gavriil Sakellaridis said. “It’s a good opportunity for the Greek government to pass this, based on the obligations it has and which emanate from the Istanbul agreement, among others,” Sakellaridis said.

During the press conference, Irene Gaitanou campaign director for the Greek chapter of Amnesty, said that the current draft proposal “is a step back for women’s rights.” She said that recent incidents in Greek society, “with the outstanding rates of lack of punitive measures for rape, the very low rate of reported rapes and the struggles of surviving victims demand a legislative change, which will lead to a wider social conversation in order to change personal and social attitudes.

Monica Costa, senior campaigner on women’s rights at Amnesty International’s Europe Regional Office, said that “sexual violence in Europe is recorded on average at just 14 percent. This data is shocking, taking into account the fact that nearly 9 million women have reported they were raped.”