Spain has enacted a new law that requires sexual permission to be declared clearly rather than presumed by default or silence. The “only yes means yes” law was passed by the country’s lower house of parliament on Aug 26 by a vote of 205 to 141, with three abstentions. Nonconsensual intercourse can also be be considered rape under the new law.
Six years ago, Spanish courts stated two cases of sexual abuse in 2016 were not rape, which sparked considerable outrage. The ‘Wolf Pack’ case involved five men raped who raped an 18-year-old lady during the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona. Despite being arrested the next day, the men were first convicted of sexual abuse rather than rape. The Spanish Supreme Court eventually convicted them guilty of rape in 2019. It was contended during the proceedings that video footage from the men’s phones showing the woman immobilised with her eyes closed during the attack was ;proof of consent.’
The law states as: “Consent can only be considered consent when it has been freely manifested through actions that, in accordance with the circumstances, clearly express the person’s wishes.”
Why it matters:
“It’s a victorious day after many years of struggle,” Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero remarked. “From now on no woman will have to prove that violence or intimidation was used for it to be recognised for what it is.”