Action urged as report highlights countries where sexual predators can walk free if they marry their victims, or if girls are ‘deemed too young to consent’
From Belgium to Bahrain, rape is still considered a moral crime rather than a violent one, with convicted rapists able to escape punishment by marrying their victims or reaching a settlement with them, according to a disturbing analysis of global laws on sexual violence.
A report by Equality Now also found that in Greece, Serbia, Russia and Thailand, perpetrators of sexual violence may be legally exempt from punishment in certain circumstances, for instance if the girl is “deemed too young to consent” to sex.
Rape is a largely ignored global epidemic affecting millions of women and girls, the international rights organisation said, yet laws around the world are failing to protect them. Such laws deny justice to the victim, send a signal that rape is not a serious offence and shift the stigma of shame to the survivor rather than the perpetrator, the study argued.
About 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to the World Health Organization. One in 10 girls, or 120 million children worldwide, have experienced “forced intercourse or forced sexual acts” at some point in their lives.
The rape of a woman or girl by her husband is legal in 10 out of 82 jurisdictions in 73 UN member states surveyed by the organisation.
Source By theguardian