SSpain has tightened its anti-rape legislation. The new regulation, known as the “only yes means yes” law, was passed by the parliament in Madrid on Thursday by 205 votes to 141. Accordingly, rape is now defined as “sex without clear consent”. In the future, no woman will have to “prove that violence or intimidation was involved” in order for a sexual assault to be classified as such, said Equal Opportunities Minister Irene Montero.
In recent years, cases of gang rape in Spain have caused great horror and demonstrations. The socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who is committed to women’s rights, announced when he took office in 2018 that he would initiate a tightening of sexual criminal law.
The law that has now been passed also tightens the rules on street harassment, expands sex education in schools and strengthens protection and compensation for victims of sexual violence. Marisa Soleto, head of the Women’s Foundation, told AFP news agency that she hoped the law would “change behavior in Spain and beyond”.
Spain is considered a pioneer in the fight against violence against women. As early as 2004, the country had passed the first law in Europe specifically targeting domestic violence.