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More Than A Quarter Of Europeans Believe Rape Can Be Justified

GABRIELLE LURIE/AFP/Getty Images

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

More than a quarter of Europeans think it’s justified to have sex without consent in certain circumstances.

A study conducted by the European Commission asked 30,000 European Union citizens about their attitudes on gender-based violence. Around 27 percent of respondents thought forced sexual intercourse is acceptable under certain circumstances.

The most common reason is the victim is intoxicated on either drugs or alcohol, which 12 percent considered a justified excuse. Eleven percent said it’s acceptable when the victim voluntarily went home with someone, while 10 percent said it was acceptable if the person didn’t clearly say no or physically resisted the encounter.

Around one in five said violence against women is “often provoked by the victim” and that women tend to “make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape.”

Responses vary greatly depending on the country. Some 60 percent of Romanians told researchers they considered forced sex acceptable under certain circumstances, while those in Sweden and Spain are consistently amongst the least likely to say so.

Germany recently changed the definitions of sexual assault and rape, and imposes tougher penalties for perpetrators. The bill dubbed “No means no” by the media makes it illegal to have sex with someone who verbally objects to the encounter. It was previously only considered rape if the victim physically tried to resist.

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