Spain wants to change the law ‘only yes is yes’ when it comes to sexual acts

by Lorraine Williamson
a change in the law

MADRID – To correct the “undesirable effects” of the recent amendment to the law ‘Solo si es si‘ (only yes is yes) to guarantee sexual freedom, the Spanish government is now considering another change in the law.

This was confirmed by the Minister of Presidency and Courts, Félix Bolaños, on Monday. Since the law came into force, reduced sentences for aggressors have been applied. That fact led to anger and public outcry since the amended law should have better protected the victims. The change in the law will be implemented based on a proposal from the Ministry of Justice, Cadena SER published Monday morning. 

The minister acknowledged that this is a complex legal reform. For this reason, he explained that the Justice Department’s proposal addresses this “possible reform with all due diligence” and will be carried out in close consultation with “the experts, professors and magistrates most familiar with this part of our criminal justice system”. 

What is the Justice proposal? 

The Justice Department is proposing to reclaim the sentences of the previous penal code to prevent the most serious rapists from being eligible for reduced sentences. In the document, officials call for a return to sentences between 1 and 5 years when there is violence, intimidation or the victim’s will has been destroyed and between 6 and 12 years in those same cases where the assault is penetrative. 

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In cases where there are aggravating circumstances, the document also calls for a return to previous sentences of between 5 and 10 years when there was no penetration and between 12 and 15 when there was. The proposal could be extended to cases where the victim is a minor. 

With the amendment, the government aims to penalise sexual assaults where violence, harassment or the will of the victim has been nullified in the same terms as before. 

Sentence reduction 

The entry into force of the new law meant that victims no longer had to prove there had been sexual abuse. When there was no consent for sexual acts, they were automatically considered a sex offence. However, the lower minimum sentences meant that perpetrators of sexual offenses could still qualify for a reduced sentence. 

Also read: New law leads to reduced sentences for rapists

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