By redefining consent in its latest bill, Spain’s parliament makes it easier for sex crime survivors to come forward and ensure justice is served, as clear mutual consent becomes essential in sexual assault cases.
“From today, Spain is a freer, safer country for all women,” says Irene Montero, minister for equality. “We are going to swap violence for freedom, we are going to swap fear for desire.”
Known as “Only yes means yes,” the bill defines consent as an explicit expression of a person’s will. Therefore, silence or passivity does not equate to consent, and survivors no longer have to prove that they were subjected to intimidation or violence prior to the attack. Consequently, non-consensual sex can be considered aggression punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The bill includes measures like obliging minors guilty of sexual crimes to undergo sex education, offering gender equality training, and creating a network of 24-hour crisis centers for sexual assault survivors and their families alike.