Spanish Congress Passes Bill Calling All Non-Consensual Sex Rape | world news

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a bill that categorizes all non-consensual sex as rape in response to social outrage after the so-called Wolf Pack case gave a boost to the movement of women’s rights in the country four years ago.

The government’s proposed legislation, known as ‘Only Yes Is Yes’, merges the crimes of sexual abuse and sexual assault into the same type of crime as rape, and victims will no longer have to prove violence or resistance.

“The (mottoes) ‘only yes is yes’ and ‘sister, I believe you’ are finally turning into law,” Equality Minister Irene Montero told Congress lawmakers. “From now on, Spain is a freer and safer country for all women.”

The legislation, which has been in the works for more than two years and was approved by 195 votes with 3 abstentions, still faces an upper house vote and will go into effect if approved.

Tackling gender-based violence has been a priority for the left-leaning minority government since the ‘Wolf Pack’ case, in which five men who refer to themselves by that name were jailed for the lesser crime of sexual abuse in 2018 after gang-raping a young woman at the 2016 Pamplona Bullfighting Festival.

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Mass protests against their sentencing drew international attention in the wake of the global #MeToo movement and led to an appeal in 2019 in which the Supreme Court ruled the men had committed rape, handing them longer sentences. .

Two cases of minors who allegedly raped an 18-year-old woman and raped and abused two 12- and 13-year-old teenagers have shocked Spanish society again recently.

If the abusers are minors, the new legislation requires their sentences to include mandatory sex and equality education.

In another push for women’s rights, the government on May 17 proposed a bill to strengthen the right to abortion and make Spain the first country in Europe to offer funded paid leave. by the State to women suffering from painful menstruation.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Belén Carreño; Editing by Christina Thykjaer and Sandra Maler)

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Edward K. Thompson