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Sexual Violence is a Global Issues: Snapshots from Around the World

Canada: A bill has been introduced which would allow authorities to take blood samples from anyone who may have infected another with a deadly virus. The bill is intended to help police officers and rape victims find out if their assailants are infected with HIV or hepatitis. The Ottawa Sun, October 5, 2001

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe has passed a new law that seeks to criminalize the deliberate transmission of HIV, recognize rape in marriages and impose heavy penalties for a host of sexual offences. According to Zimbabwe's national HIV/AIDS policy, studies have shown that unprotected sex within marriage may be the most significant risk factor for many women. Agence France Presse, August 24, 2001

Australia: New laws that provide for life sentences for gang rapists have been put into effect. The laws raise the maximum penalty for gang sexual assault from 20 years to life imprisonment. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), October 1, 2001

Pakistan: During the last eight months, 372 cases of rape, including 145 cases of gang rape and murder after rape, were reported all over the country. Research revealed that in many reported cases, the perpetrators were known to the victims and were relatives, work associates, family friends, lovers or acquaintances. In 70 % reported rape cases; the place of abuse was the victim's house. Business Recorder, September 14, 2001

Ireland: New laws against sex offenders, including a register and police tracking system, are being introduced by the Irish government. The laws will increase the maximum prison sentence for sexual assault from 5 to 14 years where the victim is a child and from 5 to 10 years if it involves an adult. After release from prison, all offenders will have to register with the Gardai (police) so they can be tracked. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 26, 2001

France: France's highest court ruled that a student forced to endure an act of fellatio by a teacher was not the victim of rape. The court accepted the argument of the district attorney, who had argued that the French penal code limited the crime of rape to "any act of sexual penetration imposed by violence, restraint or surprise". The student was 13 at the time of the incident. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 22, 2001

South Africa: A 21-year-old woman is making history by suing two men who allegedly raped and impregnated her, after police bungled the criminal investigation and the local courts set her alleged attackers free - because she could not remember the color of their hats. More than 150 suspected sexual offenders have walked free in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court in the past two months because of legal technicalities caused by police or judicial incompetence. Africa News, September 28, 2001

Japan: The Yokohama District Court sentenced a 27-year-old man to 12 years in prison for organizing a group of rapists via the Internet and being involved in the rapes of five women in 1999 and 2000. The man was found guilty of conspiring with four other men to break into the five women's homes and rape them. He instructed his four accomplices whom to attack and how. Malaysia General News, August 2, 2001

England: A Sentencing Advisory Panel is considering increases in prison sentences for date rape. Also under consideration is whether rape by a stranger should still be deemed more serious than an attack by a husband or cohabitant. Some commentators have suggested that rape by an intimate should be regarded as an aggravating factor. The panel is also seeking views on the seriousness of spiking a victim's drinks to overcome resistance and is looking at racially aggravated rape. The Daily Telegraph (London), September 13, 2001

Thailand: Seven boys under age 14 have been implicated in the attempted gang rape of a 12-year-old girl in her classroom at lunchtime. The boys have confessed to imitating scenes from pornographic videos. They are not expected to face harsh punishment because the law does not prescribe punishment for offenders younger than 14. The Nation (Thailand), September 3, 2001

Mexico: Lawmakers in Chihuahua state dropped a clause of the state penal code they approved in August that cut the minimum rape sentence from four years to one year if the offender could prove the victim provoked the attack. After women's rights groups protested, Mexico's national congress threatened to intervene if the law was not changed. The Associated Press, September 18, 2001

Iran: Two Iranians have been sentenced to death and 23 of their accomplices given jail terms for operating a prostitution ring in the holy city of Qom. A judge said that the 40-member gang had lured young girls to prostitution, committed rape, kidnapping, drug-trafficking, robbery and various other crimes against morals and social order. Those who received jail sentences will stay behind bars for three to 25 years while 15 others in the group get whipped publicly. Xinhua News Agency, September 15, 2001

Last Updated: 9/17/08