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Spain passes a bill that qualifies all non-consensual sex as rape

"Sólo sí es sí" law will eliminate legal distinction between sexual abuse and sexual assault

Spain passes a bill that qualifies all non-consensual sex as rape  Sólo sí es sí law will eliminate legal distinction between sexual abuse and sexual assault

After paid menstrual leave and the right to abortion without parental consent for all women from the age of sixteen, Spain takes a new step toward female empowerment. The Congress of Deputies in Madrid approved the Ley de Garantía Integral de la Libertad Sexual, a new norm that eliminates the legal distinction between assault and abuse, considering all sexual intercourse without free and explicit consent to be rape. As of today, after a long debate, 201 votes in favor, 140 against (from the radical right-wing parties PP and Vox) and 3 abstentions, the time for arbitrary interpretations that at trial humiliate survivors with questions such as "Did you close your legs?", "How were you dressed?" and "Did you resist enough?" and with rulings that minimize the suffering and abuse they endured. As both El Pais and Ministra de Igualdad Irene Montero point out:


"Today is a very important day for the women of our country: sexual freedom finally becomes a right. Today we can all say together "sister I believe you"."

The law, also known as "Sólo sí es sí," is the result of the outrage and popular mobilizations born out of a group sexual assault case six years ago that sparked a real movement for Spanish women's rights. In July 2016, during the San Fermìn festival in Pamplona, a group of five men, who called themselves on WhatsApp the Manada and included a member of the Guardia Civil police and a member of the Military First Aid, had lured an 18-year-old girl inside a doorway and raped her. Then, he had abandoned her on the street without a cell phone to prevent her from calling for help and they had escaped. The survivor reported them, getting further humiliating violence in return. After eleven hearings and a media trial in which she was pilloried, the court ruled out the crime of sexual assault, preferring the "softer" one of abuse, sentencing the five with a sentence of only 9 years against the 22 requested by the prosecution. The ruling drew enormous criticism and was overturned in part by the Spanish Supreme Court, which raised the sentence to 15 years, convicting the pack members of rape.

"Sólo sí es sí" is the result of the case of la Manada and many similar ones in which survivors were attacked a second by the courts and press for the way they were dressed, spoke, smiled, had or had not reacted to the alleged violence. A small step that contributes to making a dent in rape culture, but there is still a long way to go when one considers that in 2021, 2143 cases of rape were reported in Spain (an average of 6 per day), a 34% increase over 2020, and that, according to the Survey on Violence against Women sponsored by the Ministry of Equality, only 8% of victims of sexual violence report it.