Europe: Spain to become tenth country in Europe to define rape as sex without consent

Following the announcement by the Spanish government today of a new bill on comprehensive responses to sexual violence, including a reform of the legal definition of rape, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Gender Monica Costa Riba said:

“We welcome the step taken by the government to improve the State’s responses to sexual violence in Spain. This is a victory for survivors of rape and for the countless women, campaigners and activists who raised so much awareness of the need for reforms in law, policy and practice through their protests and street actions.

“The proposed change of the legal definition of rape will make Spain become the tenth country out of the 31 analysed by Amnesty in Europe, which clearly define sex without consent as rape in line with international human rights law and standards. It is high time that other countries in Europe follow suit, and through improving their laws and policies, advance societal understanding of rape, consent and sexual autonomy.”

The announced bill follows recent high-profile gang rape cases in Spain in which the justice system failed the victims.  This includes the so called ‘La Manada’  (wolf pack) case in which a lower court found that five men were only guilty of the lesser offence of sexual abuse. The 2018 ruling sparked widespread protests across the country and triggered a commitment of the government to reform the legal definition of rape and other sexual violence offences.

Amnesty International will analyse the bill’s compliance with international human rights law and standards in detail when the full text is made public.