A PANEL of legal experts set up by the Spanish government are working to toughen up the country’s laws to define any non-consensual sexual act as “assault” or “rape” instead of “sexual abuse.”
The panel was established after protests erupted when five men known as the ‘Wolfpack’ (La Manada) were cleared of raping a teenage woman this year.
Under the current law, for a case to be treated as “rape” there has to be proof of violence or intimidation.
The proposal is still being worked on but the legal experts will recommend that the maximum jail term for rape should remain 15 years.
On December 5 judges in the northern Navarre region upheld the decision to clear the five men in the ‘Wolfpack’ case.
They were convicted on a lesser charge of sexual assault, which carries a jail term of nine years, but the case will now go to the Supreme Court.
The men had had unprotected sex with an 18 year-old woman in a basement during Pamplona’s bull-running festival in July 2016.
When they were freed on bail in July, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced he would table new sexual assault laws to clarify what classes as rape.
“To be clear, ladies and gentlemen, if they say no it means no, and if they don’t say yes, it means no.”
The legal changes are also more specific about the types of sexual assault considered to be the worst e.g. children assaulted by a parent or other authority figure, or where a weapon is used against the victim.