The Greek chapter of Amnesty International announced this week it is launching a campaign to revise article 336 of the country's penal code, changing the definition of rape from an act of coercion to one based on absence of consent for the sexual act.
“Among multiple obstacles, women have to face harmful laws that fail to recognize a simple truth: Sex without consent is rape. Greece is no exception,” the organisation said.
Article 336 of the Greek penal code defines rape as intercourse to which one is coerced through the use of physical violence or the threat of grave and serious danger. This definition ignores the fact that in some cases of rape the perpetrator may not use violence, yet the victim has not given its free and voluntary consent.
According to data cited by Amnesty, one out of 20 women (nearly 9 million women) in the European Union aged over 15 has been raped, while one out of 10 has experienced some kind of sexual violence.
In many cases, the organisation claimed, offenders are not brought to justice, as many women are afraid or ashamed to ask for help, while others do not press charges for fear they will be stigmatised or publicly humiliated.
The definition of rape based on consent is already applied in eight European countries.
Amnesty is collecting signatures for a petition it intends to submit to Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou.