Rape laws are failing women & girls. Sign on to help fix them!
Unless governments fix their laws on rape and sexual assault and implement them effectively and sensitively, we are unlikely to see an end to the worldwide abuse of women and girls anytime soon.
- Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now
17 August 2017 UPDATE: We are seeing results! Since launching our campaign in March, we are encouraged to see governments taking huge steps towards reviewing rape and sexual violence laws. The momentum speaks for itself – within a span of three weeks, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon all repealed laws that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. We also received responses from Lithuania, New Zealand, Bulgaria, The United Kingdom, Hungary, Croatia, Iraq, Canada and Australia detailing how their governments are working to address the issues we raised in our Global Rape Laws report. Your voices are being heard, so please keep speaking up for women and girls!
Rape and sexual abuse are everyday violent occurrences -- affecting close to a billion women and girls over their lifetimes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. According to UNICEF, around 120 million girls worldwide, just over 1 in 10, have experienced “forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts” at some point in their lives. Everyone reading this is likely to have either survived, or to know someone who has experienced, some form of sexual violence.
However, despite the pervasiveness of these crimes, laws are insufficient, inconsistent, not systematically enforced and, sometimes, promote violence.
If it were a medical disease, sexual violence would have the serious attention and the funding to address it, from governments and independent donors alike. In our February 2017 advocacy report, The World’s Shame – The Global Rape Epidemic: How Laws Around the World are Failing to Protect Women and Girls from Sexual Violence, we identify seven key gaps in global rape laws and call on governments and policymakers to fix them and to ensure justice for survivors of sexual violence.