Rape in Germany

Rape in Germany is defined by Section 177 of the Criminal Code of Germany. The definition of rape has changed over time from its original formulation in the penal code established in 1871, as extramarital intercourse with a woman by force or the threat. In 1997 laws were amended to criminalize marital rape, incorporate gender-neutral language, and recognize the effect of psychological coercion. In 2016 German laws were rewritten to remove a previous requirement that a victim physically resist their assailants and be overcome by force. The new law recognized any physical or verbal cue that one party does not consent to sexual contact. It also mandated deportation for migrants convicted of sexual assault, made it easier to prosecute rapes committed by groups, and criminalized other types of unwanted sexual contact, such as groping or fondling. The changes followed a series of high-profile cases that sparked public outrage at the inadequacy of the law.

Wir haben Gesichter, in English "we have faces", a monument in Viktoriapark, Kreuzberg, at the site where a woman was raped in March 2002

Incidence of rape in Germany has remained relatively stable, rising from 7.57 in 1995, to 9 per 100,000 people in 2009. Most victims are female and between the ages of 21 and 40. Nearly all perpetrators are male, and about half are current or former partners. Conviction rates have declined, going from 20% in the 1980s to as low as 8% in 2016, prior to major legislative reforms.

Germany was the site of mass rape by the invading Soviet army, during the latter part of World War II, with the estimated number of victims ranging from tens of thousands to as many as two million.


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