Wednesday, January 17, 2018

alergicni na nepravduThe Autonomous Women's Center explicitly demands that the state of Serbia change the definition of the criminal offense of rape, so that every act of sexual penetration is punishable, regardless of the form and nature of the act, committed against a person who has not given his/her free consent, which will be taken into account in the context of each individual case. This is also an explicit demand of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence which was ratified by the Republic of Serbia in 2013.

In Serbia, a criminal offense is categorized as rape only if it includes use of force or threat of use of force, which implies that the victim should physically reisstsistance. Also, all other forms of penetration are not considered rape or coercion to sexual act, but prohibited sexual acts, for whose basic form the envisaged penalty is a fine or a prison sentence of up to 3 years, even in cases where victims are children.

We would like to know why the number of adults reported for criminal offenses against sexual freedom in 2016 in Serbia, was only 367, of which 91 for rape, while the number of convicted adults in the same year was only 204, of which 51 for the criminal act of rape.

The Council of Europe Convention demands from states, in addition to the harmonization of laws, to ensure access to justice for women survivors of sexual violence, including rape, to be protected at all stages of the investigation and judicial proceedings and to have access to specialized support services for victims. States are also required to ensure the collection of specific data on the prevalence of these acts, as well as to work on the prevention of sexual violence through campaigns and education at all levels of formal education. What has the state of Serbia fulfilled from the above?

In 2013, women's organizations across Europe started a joint campaign demanding justice and support for all those who have survived rape. In Serbia, some, but insufficient, improvements were made in the amendments to the Criminal Code in 2016.

For all these reasons, the Autonomous Women's Center is launching a campaign to change the definition of the criminal offense of rape and implement necessary harmonization of criminal law with the standards of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, during which expert meetings and disussions will be organized.

We invite all citizens to visit the website www.potpisujem.org, and complete the Big Test for the Public titled "Are you allergic to injustice?" and then send and share their messages of support to the campaign.