This Comment addresses Romania's failure to statutorily define and prosecute sexual violence perpetrators. Throughout history, women in Romania have found a justice system that fails them due to lax laws, corruption, and negligence by police departments. Specifically, Romanian women who are victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, and forced prostitution are often unable to report their crimes, attain proper counseling, and get justice against their abusers. Since the Romanian Revolution, the country has struggled with corruption and human trafficking and has become a major European hub for prostitution. The lack of adequate and appropriate laws needed to protect women, specifically in instances of rape and sexual assault, directly conflicts with human rights obligations and leads to more predators either domestically or from foreign countries. Ambiguity in the laws is a primary issue, specifically, the lack of a definitive definition of what rape or sexual violence entails. As it stands, the current laws do not define rape or sexual violence as the "lack of freely given consent." These ambiguities enable abusers, hinder sexual assault investigations, and prevent abusers from being prosecuted. The contamination of corruption in Romania makes it easier for abusers to get away with crimes, while simultaneously inadvertently encouraging these crimes.
The Romanian legislature must prioritize the basic rights of women and victims in the country by statutorily defining what rape and sexual violence are and making it a priority that all instances of sexual violence are investigated and prosecuted. Romania is one of several countries in the European Union which are bound by the Istanbul Convention, which aims to stop violence against women and girls. As it stands, Romania is not in compliance with this treaty, and in order to be compliant, they must elevate their protection of women. Specifically, Romania must statutorily define sexual violence so there is no room for ambiguities, as well as set up a comprehensive data collection system, train professionals to deal with crises, and improve the response of law enforcement and the judiciary to investigate and prosecute these crimes.
How A Country Plagued with Corruption Leads to Lax Sex Laws for Women,
Loy. U. Chi. Int'l L. Rev.
Available at: https://lawecommons.luc.edu/lucilr/vol19/iss2/4