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Spain’s ‘Only Yes is Yes’ Bill

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June 13, 2022

Why in news?

Spain’s draft law defines consent as an explicit expression of a person’s will while silence or passivity does not count as consent.

What are the highlights of the Bill?

  • The Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom Bill, popularly known as “only yes is yes” frees victims from having to prove that violence or intimidation was used against them.
  • Spain’s La Manada rape case is considered to be the primary reason that indicated the need for a law like the Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom.
  • Clarity- The draft law eliminates the legal distinction between ‘sexual assault’ and ‘sexual abuse’.
  • It classifies all behaviours that violate sexual freedom without the consent of the other person as sexual assault.
  • Sexual violence- The Bill brings female genital mutilation, forced marriage, harassment with sexual connotations, and trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation within the ambit of sexual violence.
  • Assistance for victims- It details the availability of care and guidance for victims of sexual assault, including legal assistance, medical and psychological care, and economic and other needs.
  • 24-hour crisis centres will be set up to provide support and assistance in crisis situations for victims and their family members.
  • Minors- The Bill also says minors who commit sexual crimes have to undergo sex education and gender equality training.
  • Penalty- Sharing and resharing of intimate photos without consent would be punishable.
  • Non-consensual sex can be considered aggression and perpetrators can be subject to imprisonment for up to 15 years.

What laws do other countries have about non-consensual sex?

  • According to a report by Amnesty International, 9 countries around the world have defined consensual sex in their laws considering sex without consent as rape.
  • These include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Iceland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Other than this, three other countries which have amended their laws to define non-consensual sex as rape are Austria, Montenegro, and Portugal.

What are the international guidelines regarding sexual violence?

  • Istanbul Convention- Non-consensual sexual acts are defined as rape under the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
  • Article 36 of the Istanbul Convention urges signatories to criminalise non-consensual sexual acts.
  • CEDAW- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is as an international bill of rights for women.
  • The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations.

India signed CEDAW on July 39, 1980 and ratified it on July 9, 1993, with certain reservations. India has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.

India is not a signatory to Istanbul Convention.



  1. https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/explained-spains-only-yes-is-yes-bill-to-counter-all-forms-of-sexual-violence/article65488695.ece?homepage=true
  2. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-spain-only-yes-means-yes-bill-non-consensual-sex-7943815/#:~:text=Spain's%20Equality%20Minister%20Irene%20Montero,a%20freer%20place%20for%20women.%E2%80%9D
  3. https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/


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