Spain to introduce law requiring explicit verbal consent for sex

Spain plans to introduce a new "yes means yes" consent law to remove ambiguity in rape cases after protests, like the one pictured above, erupted when five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman were convicted of sexual assault, but acquitted on rape charges. File Photo by Villar Lopez/EPA

July 18 (UPI) — Spain’s government plans to introduce a new “yes means yes” sexual consent law that officials hope will make rape cases less ambiguous.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez informed parliament his government will introduce the new consent law after a 2016 ruling in a case of alleged gang rape sparked protests.

“To be clear, ladies and gentlemen, if they say no it means no, and if they don’t say yes, it means no,” Sanchez said.

Last week, Spainish deputy prime minister and equality minister Carmen Calvo Poyato proposed the law, which states anything other than explicit consent, including silence, would be considered rape.

“If a woman does not expressly say yes, then everything else is no,” Poyato said.

She added the approach is meant to ensure “the autonomy, freedom and respect for a person along with their sexuality.”

A similar law, stating sex without clear verbal or physical consent constitutes rape, went into effect in Sweden this month.

The plans to introduce the law in Spain come after five men accused of gang-raping an 18-year-old woman during the 2016 running of the bulls in Pamplona were convicted for sexual assault, but acquitted on rape charges this spring.

The men, who called themselves “the wolf pack,” filmed the attack and defendants argued the footage, which showed a lack of movement by the woman during the acts, was proof she gave consent.

Prosecutors said she was actually too terrified to move and protests erupted in the city criticizing the ruling, which sentenced each of the men to nine years in prison.


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