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Government legal clampdown on sexual assault agreed: Only a conscious 'yes' means 'consent'
21 February 2020 @ 20:05

LEFTIST Unidas Podemos has won its first debate with its socialist (PSOE) coalition partners – a request to change the Criminal Code so that only consciously-consenting sexual relations can be considered as such.

In the same way as campaigners have called for a 'no-means-no' approach to judging cases of sexual assault, abuse, harassment and rape, Unidas Podemos' equality minister Irene Montero wants to see this go farther still and a 'yes-means-yes' approach taken.

She said days ago that she intended to table a new Sexual Freedom Law for voting 'imminently', with a view to its being in force by March 8, which is International Women's Day.

It included the consideration of sex attacks where the victim is not and has never been a partner of the assailant as 'gender violence', which attracts a harsher legal interpretation, and for the crimes of 'sex abuse' and 'sexual assault' – the latter of which already includes rape – to come under the same heading, preventing situations such as the infamous Pamplona bull-run gang-rape in which the five offenders were initially convicted of 'sexual abuse' and jailed for nine years, instead of 'sexual assault', which carries sentences of between 15 and 20 years, on the basis that their 18-year-old victim did not fight back as she was drunk.

The reason for the debate over Irene Montero's new Sexual Freedom Law was largely the timescale: it will involve changing the Criminal Code, and the socialists, led by Spain's president Pedro Sánchez, have more plans for the Code than this alone.

These plans include dramatically reducing set sentences for the crime of sedition, which a number of high-ranking Catalunya politicians have been found guilty of for their part in the disputed independence referendum and which has landed them in jail for between nine and 13 years each.



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