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Slovenia becomes only 13th European country to define rape as sex without consent in ‘historic victory’ for women


WOMEN triumph in Slovenia as new milestone legislation is passed which now defines rape as sex without consent.

Previously, coercion, the use or threat of force, or not being able to defend oneself were the only conditions for an incident to be classed as rape.

Triumph for Slovenian women as the country passes millstone legislation

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Triumph for Slovenian women as the country passes millstone legislationCredit: AFP

Nils Muižnieks, Europe Director at Amnesty International, said: “This is a historic victory for women in Slovenia and an important step along the road to changing culture, attitudes and behaviour.

“It is also a testament to years of campaigning by survivors who have helped to ensure that other women do not have to go through what they endured.

The 13 EU countries which define rape as sex without consent:

  1. UK
  2. Belgium
  3. Croatia
  4. Cyprus
  5. Denmark
  6. Greece
  7. Iceland
  8. Ireland
  9. Luxembourg
  10. Malta,
  11. Sweden
  12. Germany
  13. Slovenia

“Shockingly, Slovenia is only the thirteenth country in Europe to recognise the simple fact that sex without consent is rape, although more countries are changing their legal definitions of rape.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done to challenge the deep-seated attitudes to rape and harmful gender stereotypes, but today we take a moment to celebrate.”

Previous laws in Slovenia were in place despite the fact “involuntary paralysis” or “freezing” have been found to be a highly frequent physiological and psychological reaction to sexual assault by experts.

Only 13 EU countries define rape as sex with consent

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Only 13 EU countries define rape as sex with consentCredit: Getty

The UK, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Sweden and Germany are all European countries which define sex without consent as rape. While consultations on equivalent pieces of legislation are happening in Spain and the Netherlands at the moment.

In other European nations, the law stipulates the rapist must wield force or threats for the act to be deemed as rape, even though this is not what happens in a substantial majority of rape cases.

Slovenia ratified the Istanbul Convention, a pan-European convention tackling violence against women which defines rape as sex without consent, back in 2015.

The convention is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls, covering domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, so-called honour-based violence and forced marriage.

In the UK, campaigners have long warned rape has been effectively decriminalised, with prosecutions and convictions for sexual assault and rape reaching record lows last year.

Government data shows in the year to March 2020 that just 1.4 per cent of 55,130 rape cases recorded by police resulted in prosecution.





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