Why did she stay in the abusive relationship?
She was wearing a thong
Did she close her legs properly?

These are real statements from lawyers and judges in rape trials in Europe. There is no other crime where the complainant’s actions, inactions, motivations, clothing, sexual history and lifestyle choices are so heavily scrutinised.

One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. One in 20 women will be raped. Roughly a third of survivors will report these crimes, knowing that when they do they will be interrogated, judged and often blamed for the actions of the perpetrator.

Conviction rates may vary, but across the EU cases have been dismissed on ludicrous grounds.

To right this wrong, the European Parliament took a historic step by approving a law that recognises the simple truth: sex without consent is rape. 

However, this crucial step toward eliminating gender-based violence is being blocked by some member states in the European Council. These member states refuse to criminalise rape in the absence of consent. If they are successful, the Directive to combat gender based violence will not have provisions on rape.

For the Left, this is unacceptable. We are calling for a Europe where only a resounding Yes Means Yes.

Consent-based rape laws reverse the burden of proof. Instead of asking the victim, “did you say no?” It asks the perpetrator “what did you do to make sure there was consent?” These laws are already in place in a number of countries across the EU. We believe it’s time for justice for all survivors of gender based violence and we want to see this legal change in every member state.

On International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, sign our petition to demand change. Your signature is a powerful voice that can influence the European Council to recognise the importance of criminalising rape in the absence of consent. Together, we can make a difference.

Only yes means yes!

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