Spain to introduce law requiring explicit verbal consent for sex

Blanche Robertson
July 21, 2018

"If she says no, it means no; and if she does not say yes, it also means no", Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament as he made the pledge on Monday, according the El Pais website.

The proposed legislation follows the notorious sex attack on a young woman during a bull-running festival in Pamplona by a group of five men dubbed 'La Manada, ' meaning wolf pack, after the name given to their group chat on WhatsApp.

The case fueled demonstrations and worldwide criticism because the three judges who tried it did not permit video taken of the assault or messages exchanged between the men that detailed drugging and raping other women as evidence.

Under current Spanish law, prosecutors must demonstrate that violence was perpetrated against the victim or that the victim was in a "vulnerable situation".

The announcement comes as the Second Section of the Court of Navarra ruled to uphold the bailing of the five men jailed in connection with the La Manada case.

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Demonstrators attend a rally in Madrid, Spain on June 22, 2018, one day after a court ordered the release on bail of five men.

Carmen Calvo Poyato, Spain's deputy prime minister and equality minister, who is promoting the bill said "if a woman does not expressly saying yes, then everything else is no".

"It's something as resounding and flawless as if a woman does not expressly say 'yes, ' everything else is 'no.' That's how her autonomy is preserved, [along with] her freedom [and] respect for her person and her sexuality", Calvo said, according to a July 10 statement that laid out the government's plans to introduce more "feminist" policies. A similar law came into force in Sweden last month and classes sex without explicit consent as rape. Under Spanish law, rape must involve violence and intimidation, allowing cases of rape where the woman doesn't resist to be considered a lesser crime.

The 2014 Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe defines rape as the absence of consent, stating that "consent must be given voluntarily", and it requires all signatories to include laws that define rape as such.

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