Strengthening sexual criminal law: Spain: clear consent for sex required and more Latest news here

Sex offenses law tightened


Spain: Clear consent required for sex

The Spanish parliament adopts the new law “Only yes means yes”. Any sexual intercourse without express consent is qualified as rape. “Intimidating” compliments and the dissemination of videos of a sexual nature are also punishable.

In Spain, the criminal law on sex is reinforced. A left-leaning government bill that everyone involved must expressly consent to sexual acts in the future has finally been approved by the parliament in Madrid. MPs from the conservative People’s Party (PP) and the right-wing populist Vox party voted against the so-called “Only yes, it’s yes” law. His main argument: the plan jeopardizes the principle of the presumption of innocence. The bill was first approved by parliament in May, but the Senate sent it back with a small amendment.

The new paragraphs remove the distinction between abuse and aggression. Once it comes into effect, sexual assault will be considered rape whether the victim resists or allows an act to occur out of fear. Up to 15 years in prison will then be available for rape and sexual violence. In addition, among other things, “intimidating” compliments and the dissemination of videos of a sexual nature are punishable.

Gender Equality Minister Irene Montero described the law as a “decisive step in changing her country’s sexual culture”. “Rape culture” and “sexual terror” will be abolished. “The feminist movement is making history in Spain,” she said in May. Through its initiative, the left-wing government has reacted to several sensational cases of gang rape whose perpetrators had escaped with light sentences in recent years.

A case in July 2016 in particular caused great indignation. A group of five young men dragged a young woman through a doorway during San Fermín celebrations in Pamplona. They raped their victim several times and filmed everything. The competent court did not retain the offense of rape because, as the 2018 judgment says, there had been “neither blows nor threats” and the victim had remained passive. The verdict sparked protests across the country.

Strengthening sexual criminal law: Spain: clear consent for sexual relations required
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