Dhe Spanish government has announced the revision of a landmark law against sexual violence after numerous convicted perpetrators received reduced sentences because of a loophole in the law. In the next few days, a “meticulous text” will be presented that will offer “a solution to these unwanted effects,” said Education Minister Pilar Alegría am Madrid.
The minister, who is also party spokesperson for the ruling Socialists, called “increasing penalties for sex offenders” the “logically best way” of revising the law.
Already in October, Spain took an important step towards tightening sex criminal law. The enactment of the Yes Means Yes Act reportedly saw some 20 sex offenders released and 300 others had their sentences reduced. The law states that sexual acts will in future require the express consent of all those involved. The distribution of sex videos is also sanctioned.
Law reduces minimum and maximum penalties
The aim of the sexual criminal law reform was actually to define any non-consensual sexual intercourse as rape. The focus should be shifted away from the question of the victim’s possible resistance and towards free and clearly expressed consent.
In the past, mild rape convictions have repeatedly sparked outrage. When a woman in Pamplona, Spain, was sexually abused by five men in 2018, there were protests across the country. The reason for the mild verdict: the woman was not hit or threatened.
However, the new law reduces the minimum and maximum sentences for some sex offenses, prompting hundreds of requests for a reduction in sentences. In Spain, penalties are changed retrospectively when a legal reform benefits the convict.