Saturday, December 14, 2019

Advocacy

Initial premise of the Autonomous Women's Center is that policies, in order to fight against violence against women, at the local and national level should be consistent with international standards and good practices in this field. In accordance with the strategic goals, that the Convention of the United Nations and the Council of Europe should be implemented well by the state and that in the process of joining the European Union we must respect the human rights of women, Autonomous Women's Center consistently monitors the implementation of and advocates for a comprehensive, coherent, relevant, specific, efficient and effective national policies against violence against women.

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Rape and sexual violence disproportionately affect girls and women. This constitutes a serious violation of their human rights, severe violence and form of torture, serious discrimination and the way in which their subordination in all spheres of private and public life is achieved.

However, the legal definitions of this act, which represent violence against physical integrity and sexual autonomy and freedom, are different. In the previous period, they had several significant revisions and enlargements:

  • the lack of CONSENT instead the use of force
  • extension of forms of violence and methods of execution on all parts of the body
  • removal of marital relationship exemption
  • criminal and official process instead of civil and private process.

International standards seek to remove any claim that a sexual assault is committed only by the use of force and violence, as well as any request for evidence of penetration. They seek for existence of an unambiguous and freely expressed CONSENT, ie. punishment of any sexual activity without CONSENT, is required. The assessment should take into account great differences in respondents' responses to sexual violence and rape and should not be based on the assumptions of "typical" behavior in such situations, which contain gender stereotypes and myths about male and female sexuality.

The above mentioned is also a standard in the Council of Europe Convention against Violence against Women (Article 36), ratified by the Republic of Serbia in 2013. Nevertheless, Serbia retained a conservative definition of this offense.

It is time for the criminal offense of Rape - Article 178 of the Criminal Code of Serbia to comply with the accepted international standards.

Therefore, support the CONSENT campaign and demand from the Ministry of Justice to modify the definition of this offense in accordance with international standards.