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Spain passes bill criminalizing rape without consent

Spain’s lower house has passed a bill that criminalizes rape of any sexual act without consent, following the outrage in the country six years ago over a gang rape case.

The government-sponsored Sexual Freedom Act, also known as “Only Yes Means Yes,” provides that victims no longer have to prove that they have been abused or bullied or that they have resisted in order to prove that they have been sexually assaulted. attack. Any sexual act without consent can be considered a sexual assault.

“The slogans ‘only yes means yes’ and ‘sister, I believe you’ are finally becoming law,” Spanish Equality Minister Irene Montero told lawmakers in Congress. “From now on, Spain is a freer and safer country for all women.”

The bill has been under development for more than two years and was approved by 201 votes to 140, with three abstentions. It must now be adopted by the upper house before it enters into force.

Tackling gender-based violence was high on the priorities of Prime Minister Pedro Sandeth’s government following the “wolf herd” case. In it, five self-proclaimed men were convicted only of sexually abusing them in 2018, despite gang-raping a young woman during the 2016 Pamplona bullfighting festival. The court had sentenced them to nine years in prison. , while he had acquitted them of the charge of rape because they did not use violence against the victim.

The massive protests that followed the announcement of the court’s decision in this case caught the attention of the international public and led the Spanish authorities to file an appeal in 2019, with the Supreme Court convicting the five men for rape and imposing them sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

The cases of two minors who allegedly raped an 18-year-old woman as well as a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl have recently shocked Spanish public opinion.

If the perpetrators are minors, under the new legislation they will have to attend sex education classes.

In 2021, 2,143 rape allegations were made in Spain, 14% more than in 2020 and the highest number ever recorded.

Source: Capital

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