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Spain approved a law on sexual freedom that raises a new definition of consent

The government of Spain approved this Tuesday the law of sexual freedom, known as the “law of only yes is yes”, which redefines what consent is, and that for the first time criminalizes street harassment.

After the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Finance and government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, stressed that the law represents “a decisive advance in the comprehensive protection of women and children” and that “places the victim at the center of public action “.

The Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, who did not appear after the Council of Ministers, explained through a video posted on social networks that “today is one of those days in which politics is up to the demands of society, and specifically, feminist demands, of women “.

The Equality minister added that this law frees women from having to show that they resisted, that there was violence or that they felt intimidated. “Any sexual relationship without consent is an assault“, he emphasized.

Consent as a clear expression

The text does not define what is not consent, but what is: “When it has been freely expressed through acts that, in view of the circumstances of the case, clearly express the will of the person“.

Rape will be all penetration without consent, without requiring violence or intimidation.

After the approval of the law in the Council of Ministers, the spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, said: “If you don’t want to, you do not have to participate in any sexual act“.

The crime of street harassment will be punished with permanent location or work for the benefit of the community.

The author of a minor crime is considered to be those who “address another person with expressions, behaviors or propositions of a sexual nature that create an objectively humiliating situation for the victim, hostile or intimidating, without constituting other more serious crimes “.

Group aggressions, an aggravating factor

In addition to updating the classification of sexual crimes (with a progressive system proportional to the seriousness of the criminal acts and with aggravating factors such as group aggressions, serious violence, the special vulnerability of the victim and the use of weapons or dangerous means) , the law addresses multiple areas.

It considers as sexual violence aggression, harassment, exhibitionism, stalking or street harassment, sexual provocation, prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, corruption of minors, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, sexual feminicide and, in the digital sphere, sexual violence transmitted by technological means, sexual extortion and non-consensual pornography.

Avoid revictimization

Similarly, re-victimization is avoided by developing procedural measures to accompany the victims, including the possibility of avoiding eye contact with the alleged aggressor or of testifying in special rooms.

The government also aspires to end impunity in the prostitution industry, and for this it will toughen the Penal Code to prosecute all types of pimping and punish those who profit from renting premises where sexual exploitation occurs, the so-called locative third party.

After 16 months, the Executive gave the green light to legislation that broadens the concept of violence against women beyond the scope of the partner and ex-partner, an initiative that has been widely demanded by the feminist movement.

With information from La Vanguardia and the ANSA agency

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