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Women pressure enforces legal improvement of Greece’s “Rape Law”

Following an outcry by women’s groups, Amnesty International and even SYRIZA lawmakers about the “rape” definition and its punishment in the new Penal Code,, Justice Minister Mihalis Kalogirou submitted a legislative improvement early Thursday afternoon.

“Anyone who attempts a sexual act without the victim’s consent is punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years,” reads the improvement of paragraph 5 of Article 336 of the New Penal Code.

Erased is the phrase that under circumstances, the crime was a “misdemeanor to be punished with imprisonment of 3 to 5 years.

Another important point is that the key word “consent” was added in the same paragraph of Article 336.

In this sense, the legal improvement means that all forms of rape are a felony and for the first time rape is defined on the basis of the absence of the victim’s consent and not on the degree of violence applied by the perpetrator.

Women’s groups, Amnesty International and two female lawmakers of SYRIZA had sharply criticized the new law saying that it did not contain the word “consent” and would be charged as a misdemeanor crime under circumstances.

Minister Kalogirou had dismissed the misdemeanor claims saying “it is not valid and that rape is a felony in most of the cases. The fact that punishment of 3-5 years was included in paragraph 5 could not be accepted by the public opinion.”

After the legal improvement, Amnesty International spoke of “historic victory of the women’s movement.”

Wednesday afternoon, protesters gathered outside the Parliament with banners reading “Take back Article 336 – Only Criterion is The Absence of Consent” and “Rape is Sex Without Consent.”

After the Minister submitted the legal imporvement, women posted on social media:

“When we are many and struggle for our lives, our bodies and our raped sisters, we can achieve victories.”

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