New Journal of European Criminal Law 2022, Vol. 0(0) 1–27
© The Author(s) 2022
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On 8 March 2022, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence. Inter alia, the proposal includes minimum rules on the definition of certain forms of violence against women and domestic violence, including rape. Building on a historical overview of what counts as rape and on the legal context in which the European Commission has tabled the proposal, this article will critically discuss whether the European Union (hereinafter: the EU) has the competence to harmonise the crime of rape pursuant to Article 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and what the desirable content of EU legislation in this field should be. For this purpose, the article will use long-lasting, feminist scholarship as an analytical tool to address the transformations that these feminist discourses have traditionally brought into rape law, stressing the legal gaps that still need to be filled, and suggesting a possible new synergy between EU criminal law and feminist scholarship and activism.