Majority of Germans approve of ′no means no′ rape statutes | News | DW | 17.06.2016
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Majority of Germans approve of 'no means no' rape statutes

The majority of Germans approve of stricter laws on rape, a study reveals. Lawmakers in Germany are likely to enact a corresponding bill in less than a month.

Protests in Cologne

No means no, that's our law, keep away from our bodies, this woman's sign reads

A vast majority of Germans said they would welcome the introduction of stricter laws against rape. A poll by Infratest dimap indicated that 86 percent of 1,000 participants in the survey approved the implementation of a new draft law, commonly referred to as the "no means no" campaign.

Under the proposed law, which the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, hopes to pass before it enters its summer break next month, a rape victim would have sufficient grounds to have their assailant sentenced if they had previously said "no" to intercourse. The current law only classifies an act as rape if the victim tried to defend herself or himself.

Only 10 percent of those participating in the survey said the current legislation was sufficient. When interpreting the statistics along gender lines, 90 percent of all female participants and 82 percent of all male participants said they endorsed the proposed legislative changes.

No means no

Politicians from both major parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, have agreed on making crucial changes to the existing law, and are hoping to run the new law through the Bundestag by mid-July before taking a summer recess.

The "no mean no" law would take both verbal and physical cues into consideration, making it legally unnecessary for a rape victim to have to fight back. However, the "no" message would have to be communicated in clear terms, which some critics have said could create a level of ambiguity for cases of drugged victims. Parliamentarians will now work on including such details and others in the few weeks leading up to the passing of the new legislation.

The grand coalition is also planning to enact stricter laws governing sexual harassment and group assaults. Following the events in Cologne on New Year's Eve 2015, when a group of migrants assaulted scores of women, with at least three reporting rape, politicians are reacting to public calls to deter potential assailants by enacting harsher sentences.

ss/sms (AFP, dpa, epd)

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