This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

MEPs tell governments to reverse omission of rape in violence against women Directive

The lead MEPs negotiating a draft Directive on violence against women with EU ministers, have called on all governments, Malta included, to ensure the new law will include the crime of rape.

The draft new Directive on violence against women is currently under negotiation between the European Parliament and Council, but in a draft of the Council position, various references to rape have been removed.

But in a letter to all governments, Malta included, MEPs Frances Fitzgerald (EPP) – from the Women’s Rights committee – and Even Incir (S&D) – from the Civil Liberties committee – called for the reversal of the omission of rape in the Council position in ongoing negotiations.

“We call on all governments across the European Union to ensure that the new EU Directive on combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence includes the crime of rape,” the two MEPs said in a letter to the press. “To exclude this most heinous crime would be shocking and retrogressive – an insult to both women and men.”

The two MEPs said that while Europe condemns the use of rape in armed conflict and continuously calls out this violent act in countries outside of the bloc, a majority of member state governments were now rejecting the inclusion of rape in the EP law originally drafted to protect women from this very crime.

“This is shocking, unacceptable, and regressive. This is the first-ever European piece of legislation to deal with cyber violence, female genital mutilation, prevention of violence and protection for victims. Women in Europe need to be assured that violence against women is combated forcefully all across the EU Member States,” the two MEPs said.

“We need a safer Europe, tackling prevention, protection, and prosecution of these crimes. Violence against women and domestic violence is increasing across Europe – the statistics are horrifying. We must see a united approach from all governments in the EU to tackling these appalling crimes.”

Importantly, the law would harmonise the criminalisation of violence across an EU of free movement for women and men, who are equally protected from all forms of violence in the Union. Malta has rape laws that criminalise “non-consensual carnal connection” which is vaginal, anal or oral penetration with any sexual organ that carries a penal term of incarceration from six to 12 years.

“Free movement of people is one of the four pillars of our Union – we must ensure that women and men are equally protected from all forms of violence throughout our Union. We call on all EU citizens and their governments to ensure that this historic and ground-breaking piece of legislation includes the crime of rape,” Fitzgerald and Incir said.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also focused on violence against women in her 2023 State of the European Union speech.

The European Parliament’s negotiators stressed Von der Leyen’s ‘no means no’ statement sums up the importance of this Directive, “that without a yes, there is no consent”.

“Non-consensual sex, that is rape, must be included in any Directive on Violence Against Women. The essential element of that offence is consent, as highlighted by the Commission President. With the rates of violence against women continuing to increase across our continent, European women will not accept any justification from their governments that rape cannot be included in legislation. The member states must now stand up for women’s rights to be safe everywhere in Europe,” the two MEPs said.