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Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

Spain Passes Bill Qualifying All Non-Consensual Sex As Rape

Spain Passes Bill Qualifying All Non-Consensual Sex As Rape

Spanish government-proposed legislation, known as "Only yes is yes", merges the crimes of sexual abuse and sexual assault into the same type of crime qualified as rape, and victims will no longer have to prove violence or resistance.
Spain's lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a bill that qualifies all non-consensual sex as rape in response to social outrage after the so-called Wolf Pack case gave momentum to the women's rights movement in the country four years ago.

The government-proposed legislation, known as "Only yes is yes", merges the crimes of sexual abuse and sexual assault into the same type of crime qualified as rape, and victims will no longer have to prove violence or resistance.

"The (mottos) 'only yes is yes' and 'sister I do believe you' finally turn into a law," Equality Minister Irene Montero told lawmakers in Congress. "From now on, Spain is a freer and safer country for all women."

The legislation, which has been in the works for more than two years and was approved by 195 votes with 3 abstentions, still faces an upper house vote and will enter into force if approved.

Combating gender violence has been high on the minority leftist government's agenda since the "Wolf Pack" case, in which five men referring to themselves by that name were jailed for the lesser crime of sexual abuse in 2018 after gang-raping a young woman at the Pamplona bull-running festival in 2016.

Mass protests against their conviction attracted international attention in the wake of the global #MeToo movement, and led to an appeal in 2019 in which the Supreme Court ruled the men had committed rape, handing them longer sentences.

Two cases of minors who allegedly raped an 18-year-old woman and raped and abused two 12- and 13 year-old teenagers have shocked Spanish society again recently.

If the aggressors are minors, the new legislation requires their sentences to include compulsory sex and equality education.

In another push for women's rights, the government on May 17 proposed a draft bill to reinforce abortion rights and make Spain the first country in Europe to offer state-funded paid leave for women who suffer from painful periods.
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