The new law against sexual violence, which ends the distinction between abuse and sexual assault, will punish between 1 and 4 years in prison crimes against sexual freedom of persons without their express consent, penalties that will rise depending on the type of crimes – for example rape – and the existence of aggravating factors.
This is reflected in the preliminary draft comprehensive law for the protection of sexual freedom and against sexual violence, which the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, takes Tuesday to the Council of Ministers, and that has caused the first friction in the Government of PSOE and Podemos coalition.
The urgency with which Equality wanted to approve this project, in the week of 8-M to give it a greater symbolism, has clashed with the reluctance of the PSOE ministers who saw the need to polish some details of the text that affected the courts specialized, to ensure that it did not invade powers of the autonomous communities and that it took into account the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.
The text addressed by the Council of Ministers was not closed until yesterday, and has been contributed by other departments of the Government. Sources from the Ministry of Justice recognized Efe that experts and criminals were making the latest contributions to “improve” the project, in what they qualify as “a usual procedure” to “achieve the best possible text.”
Finally, overcoming the discrepancies apparently, the text – to which EFE has had access – entails a modification of the Criminal Code with the creation of new crimes and, above all, ends the distinction between abuse and violation by becoming the central axis of the project the consent figure, as claimed by the Istanbul Convention, to make it clear that “only yes is yes”. A call that has already become the name by which the law is known.
The draft must still go through the reporting phase and then be processed in Congress, where it could also undergo changes, but it is already known that it modifies article 178 of the Criminal Code to establish that it will be “punished with the prison sentence of 1 to 4 years as an inmate of sexual assault who performs any act that threatens the sexual freedom of another person without their consent. “
And it states in the same article that “it will be understood that there is no consent when the victim has not freely expressed by conclusive and unequivocal external acts, according to the concurrent circumstances, their willingness to participate in the act.”
Likewise, it defines as acts of sexual aggression those that “are carried out using violence, intimidation or abuse of a situation of superiority or vulnerability of the victim, or acting in a surprising way.”
Also those who “are executed on people who are deprived of meaning or whose mental situation is abused and those who are carried out when the victim has canceled his will for any reason.”
The punishments of one to four years for these crimes correspond to the basic criminal type for crimes of a sexual nature, have indicated to Efe sources of Equality, and there will be specific types that will be punished differently – including rape – and also aggravating factors. that will increase those amounts.
The purpose of the law, as stated in the preliminary draft, is the integral protection of the right to sexual freedom of all persons through the prevention and eradication of all sexual violence that affects women disproportionately, as a manifestation of discrimination, situations of inequality and gender power relations.
The adaptation of the Criminal Code to the Istanbul Convention so that consent is the key to determining a violation and does not depend on intimidation and violence is the best known aspect of the law, but this legislation aims to be comprehensive and includes a comprehensive approach Against sexual violence.
The objective is, in the words of Irene Montero, “to broaden the focus” with a “comprehensive normative framework that recognizes as forms of sexist violence all behaviors that imply violation in any form of the right to decide about sexual life.”
Sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, extortion and pedophile deception – also when carried out through information and communication technologies – or intentional infection of sexually transmitted diseases are some of them.
The law will also entail the creation of a network of specialized information and comprehensive assistance services, with “crisis centers” that serve victims of sexual crimes 24 hours a day.
And awareness and prevention will be basic pillars of its operation.