Believe it or not, Germany never had decent rape laws until now. It took numerous rapes and sexual assaults for the country to establish a “No means No” law.

Now a woman can claim she was raped even if she did not fight back. Yes, before this, a woman had to fight back in order to claim rape. They also classified “groping as a sex crime and makes it easier to prosecute assaults committed by large group.”

The sex attacks in Cologne forced Germany to make these moves. Migrants and refugees set off explosions at the Cologne train station on New Years Eve, causing mass panic. They then attacked, sexually assaulted, and raped the women as they attempted to escape. Police received over 1,000 complaints from that night alone.

From the BBC:

Under the previous law, defined in Section 177 of the criminal code (in German), victims should have defended themselves for an act to constitute rape. Simply saying “No” was not sufficient to find the defendant guilty, and there was no attempt to define what constituted consent.

The inadequacy of the law meant many perpetrators got away with rape, according to a 2014 study of 107 cases by the German association of women’s counselling centres and rape crisis centres (BFF).

The authors said that in every case, sexual assaults had been committed against the victim’s unambiguous will, which had been communicated verbally to the perpetrator. However, they said, either charges were not filed or there was no court conviction.

The study went on to note that the law placed too much focus on whether the victim resisted and did not reflect real-life scenarios in which people were raped.

So under those laws, the courts have not prosecuted many suspects from New Years Eve because “assault could only be proven under German law if the victim resisted.” Because of the laws, women rarely reported rapes and “the conviction rate is only 10%.”

From NBC News:

“In the past there were cases where women were raped but the perpetrators couldn’t be punished,” German Minister for Women Manuela Schwesig said. “The change in the law will help increase the number of victims who choose to press charges, lower the number of criminal prosecutions that are shelved and ensure sexual assaults are properly punished.”

The new “No Means No” law will also allow the country to easily deport any foreigner convicted of sex crimes. People involved in a group of others committing sexual violence may also face charges even if they did not participate.

In March, a study showed that sexual assault in Germany has risen since the government accepted over 1.1 million refugees. The Gatestone Institute chronicled the reported assaults and rapes in 2016. At least one occurred every single day.

In April, outlets reported that a politician tried to pressure police into removing the word rape in their reports from New Years Eve:

Local officers had produced an internal “important event” memo entitled “rape, sexual harassment, thefts, committed by a large group of foreign people” – the first indication of the scale of the incident which would go on to make headlines around the world.

According to Cologne newspaper Express, officers received a phone call from the state police control centre ordering them to take down the report “or otherwise delete the phrase ‘Vergewaltigung’” – “rape”.

A senior Cologne police officer told Express he was informed of the order by a colleague who took the call, and that state police understood it to be “the wish of the state interior ministry”.

The police refused to remove the word.