Spain passes "Only yes means yes" law

Last week Spain's parliament strengthened the country's sex crimes legislation: under the new "only yes means yes" law all parties must explicitly consent to sexual acts. In addition, sexual assault will count as rape even if the victim doesn't fight back. With the new laws Spain's Equality Minister Irene Montero hopes to bring about a change in the country's sexual culture. Not all commentators welcome the step.

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ABC (ES) /

Inquisitorial trials against men

ABC says the law is prejudiced against men:

“It establishes a presumption of guilt for men and reverses the burden of proof in criminal proceedings. A man will have to prove his innocence, which is unheard of in our legal system and contradicts the most basic legal principles. This is all based on a global indoctrination that enshrines a single, distorted way of thinking about sexuality and leads to an almost obsessive inquisitorial trial against men. This criticism is not about a lack of sensitivity regarding women or sexual violence. It is about denouncing a text that simplistically divides the world into good and evil in order to annul the presumption of innocence for men.”

El Periódico de España (ES) /

Sexual violence is a structural problem

El Periódico de España is delighted with the country's steady progress on this front:

“With the passing of this law we are once again taking an important step towards ensuring that sexual violence, which affects women disproportionately, is seen as a structural problem affecting society as a whole. ... The trivialisation of feminist movements, the repeated denial that there is a type of violence directed specifically against women, and claims that protecting women results in the persecution of men explains to a large extent why, despite the progress that has been made, it is so difficult to achieve real equality.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Effective feminist domestic politics

The Süddeutsche Zeitung gives an unambiguous response to the question of whether the government should set rules for how people enter into intimate relationships:

“Not only is it allowed to, it must - and it does so anyway. The only thing is that the rules for how power expresses itself in sexualisation or sexuality have so far been left unwritten for the most part and, in case of doubt, put the physically or socially weaker person at a disadvantage. And: culture and society don't automatically move towards more equality on their own. ... In Spain we see that when it comes to the rights of women, but also of LGBTQI and children, one thing above all works - feminist domestic politics.”