Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Home Lead Story Eastern European And Central Asian Countries Urged To Change Laws Regarding Sexual...

Eastern European And Central Asian Countries Urged To Change Laws Regarding Sexual Violence

Dekanosidze said legal changes were a vital part of wider measures needed to tackle sexual violence.

Eastern European and Central Asian countries must overhaul Soviet-era laws on sexual violence that let rapists off the hook and encourage child marriage and bride-kidnapping, legal experts said Thursday.

Flawed legislation combined with sexist attitudes across the region mean girls and women are often blamed for provoking sexual violence and may be pressured to reconcile with their attackers or even marry them.

“Many of these laws deny justice to survivors of sexual violence rather than bringing their attackers to justice,” said Tamar Dekanosidze, a human rights lawyer in Georgia. “It’s important that countries fix these laws and end widespread impunity.”

 

Sexual Violence
Protest against sexual violence in India. Image source: www.bbc.co.uk

 

No requirement to investigate

In 10 of the 15 former Soviet Union countries there is no automatic requirement for the authorities to investigate and prosecute sexual violence, according to a study by Equality Now, meaning the burden of pursuing justice lies with the victim.

Police often deter victims from initiating cases, Dekanosidze said. Victims also frequently face pressure from the perpetrator, his family or even their own family to drop claims.

Nine of the countries — Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia — allow reconciliation for sexual violence crimes, according to the study published Thursday.

In some cases a perpetrator may persuade a victim to reconcile by paying her money or promising to marry her to avoid social stigma, said Dekanosidze, the report’s co-author.

 

Sexual Violence
A woman covers her mouth with a tape that reads “My sexuality is not your conjugal right” during a demonstration to support International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 25, 2016. VOA

 

Modernize rape laws

Equality Now, which will be writing to ministers across the region, also urged countries to amend laws that define rape as sex with violence or the threat of violence.

The report comes a week after Ukraine became the first country in the region to change its law to define rape as sex without consent, following in the footsteps of countries like Sweden and Iceland.

There is no reliable data on the prevalence of sexual violence in the region, but U.N. data suggests a third of women worldwide have suffered sexual or physical violence.

The report also said sexual violence usually went unpunished in bride kidnappings and child marriages, which still happen in some Eurasian countries.

Sexual Violence
FILE – Indian youth hold candles during a protest against sexual violence in New Delhi. VOA

Marriage after rape

Child marriages are illegal in all 15 countries, but may be encouraged if a girl is raped to prevent public shame.

Rape is not investigated in such situations, meaning the forced marriage effectively exonerates the rape, the study said.

Dekanosidze cited the case of a 15-year-old girl in Georgia who was raped by two men. When the teenager reported the attacks, her family forced her to marry one of her rapists.

Also Read: People Hope to Get Transparency in System With #MeToo Movement

In bride kidnappings, rape is often used as a tool to force the girl into marriage.

Dekanosidze said legal changes were a vital part of wider measures needed to tackle sexual violence.

“Laws can change public attitudes,” she said. “Amending these laws would send a strong message that sexual violence won’t be tolerated.” (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

19,143FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,774FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Here’s Why You Should Switch to Contact Lenses, and It’s Not Just About Looks

Traditionally, we use eyeglasses for correcting vision problems such as near-sightedness (myopia) and far-sightedness (hyperopia). Glasses are both affordable and convenient to wear for...

This Indian Couple Run Street-Side Classes For Poor And Needy Children

On a quiet road in India's capital, tucked away on a wide, red-bricked sidewalk, children set adrift by the country's COVID-19 lockdown are being...

Lockdown Taught Me Greatest Lessons of Life: Mouni Roy

Actress Mouni Roy, who will soon be seen in the digital film, London Confidential, opposite Purab Kohli, says that lockdown taught her some of...

“It is Important To Support Folk Artists and Daily Workers in Trying Times”, Says Popular Singer Shaan

Popular playback singer Shaan says that folk artists and daily workers are keeping the music heritage and industry intact, and it's crucial for the...

Here’s How The Art of “Writing” Became an Empowerment Tool For These Female Authors

By Siddhi Jain Being a female author can come with its own set of challenges, especially when one is trying to juggle a career in...

Self-Driving Cars To Navigate Rush Hour Traffic On This Planet: NASA

A laser-based technology designed to help spacecraft land on a proverbial dime for missions to the Moon and Mars is also helping self-driving cars...

Choose Correct Diet And Workout To Stay Motivated: Actor Sunny Singh

Actor Sunny Singh says when you choose the correct diet and workout, you will always be motivated. "It's been quite a long that I've been...

ICAR Builds Technology To Make Bacteriophages To Control Shrimp Diseases

The ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) on Monday said it has transferred its technology to make bacteriophages, or viruses that eat bacteria, to...

Recent Comments