Spain Introducing New ‘Yes Means Yes’ Sexual Consent Law


Spain’s socialist government is to inaugurate a law on consent aimed at eradicating vagueness in rape cases.

Women in Spain protest against a court’s decision to release La Manada gang members on bail; Photo by: In Da Law

The move follows appall over the release of La Manada gang who assaulted a woman in Pamplona. The 5 men implicated were accused of gang-raping the 18-year-old female during the bull-running festival.

Under the law, consent would have to be unequivocal. It states that “yes means yes” and anything else, including silence, means NO. Sex without unambiguous consent would therefore be considered rape.

Photo by: New York Post

Two of the men involved filmed the sexual assault, during which the woman is passive and silent.

The judges construed this as consent – one judge even remarked that she appeared to be ‘enjoying herself’ – and the charge was dropped from rape to the lesser crime of sexual assault. Under Spanish law, rape has to involve intimidation and violence.

The La Manada verdict sparked outrage and triggered demonstrations across the country. The 5 men are currently out on bail pending an appeal against their 9-year sentence.

Photo by: Publimetro

In proposition of the anticipated law, Carmen Calvo Poyato, Spain’s deputy prime minister and equality minister, spoke: “If a woman does not expressly say yes, then everything else is no.”

“It can still be rape even if the victim doesn’t resist,” she stated. “If she is naked, actively taking part and enjoying herself, there is obviously consent. If she’s crying, inert like an inflatable doll and clearly not enjoying herself, then there isn’t.”


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