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'Only yes means yes': Spain's senate approves new law on sexual consent

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Spain's government has sought to introduce the law since a high-profile rape case in 2016.
Spain's government has sought to introduce the law since a high-profile rape case in 2016.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos, File

Spain's Senate approved a new law Tuesday that requires an explicit expression of consent in sexual relations.

Under the bill, consensual sex will now require an agreement from the partners, instead of silence. It will also widen the threshold for rape cases beyond incidents of violence or intimidation.

The legislation -- popularly known as the “only yes means yes” law -- was backed by Spain's parliament in May.

The amended bill will return to Spain's parliament for a final vote before it can become law in the coming months.

It was proposed by the country's Socialist government after the high-profile "La Manada" ("Wolfpack") gang rape incident in Pamplona in 2016 prompted widespread protests.

Five men were found guilty of sexually abusing, but not raping, an unconscious 18-year-old woman because she could not prove she had not given consent.

Spain’s Supreme Court later overruled two lower courts and sentenced the five defendants to 15 years in prison for rape.

Lawmakers from the opposition conservative Popular Party and the far-right VOX party voted against the legislation.