Spain bans street catcalling of women but opponents lament ‘hatred of beauty and men’ – World News

The revision of Spain’s law aims to improve women’s sexual rights, but opponents of the new policy say it is an attack on “traditional” behavior between the sexes

Women protest in Madrid after a general strike to mark International Women's Day in Madrid
Women protest in Madrid after a general strike to mark International Women’s Day in Madrid

Spain’s Congress has banned catcalling as part of a series of new legislative changes focused on improving women’s sexual rights.

Most notably, the country’s controversial rape law was reformed, under which any non-consensual penetration is now considered rape, regardless of whether force or intimidation was used.

Statements, suggestions or behavior of a sexual nature that cause the victim “a situation of humiliation, hostility or intimidation” would be punishable by a fine, community service or house arrest of up to one month, according to the draft law.

The left-wing government (Spanish Socialist Party) celebrated the passage of the ‘feminist penal code’, with right-wing parties opposing the law, claiming it restricts men’s right to the presumption of innocence and attacks traditional gender-based behaviors.

A woman makes a feminist hand sign during a protest on International Women’s Day in Madrid


Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Carla Toscano, an MP for the far-right Vox party, which was formed in 2013, said she was sad that complimenting women on their looks was being banned from the Spanish streets.

“Think of the one that was, ‘Tell me what your name is and I’ll ask for you at Christmas,'” she said, citing the popular whistle as an example of male “admiration and popular ingenuity.”

The change follows similar moves in France, Belgium and Canada, which have also recently banned street harassment or catcalling.

Ms Toscano, previously spotted wearing a t-shirt with the slogan #NotMeToo against the anti-sexual harassment movement, was applauded by members of her party as she accused the government of promoting “hatred of beauty and men”.

Gender Equality Minister Irene Montero, meanwhile, defended the reform as “a crucial step in changing this country’s sexual culture.”

“As of today, Spain is a freer, safer country for all women. We will trade violence for freedom. We will trade fear for desire,” she said.

Spain’s sex rights reform came in response to major feminist protests four years ago, when five men were acquitted of rape – instead convicted on the lesser charge of sexual assault – despite forcing an 18-year-old woman to have sex with them at a cop . ongoing festival.

Previous legislation lacked a clear definition of consent and instead relied on evidence of violence, resistance or intimidation to determine whether rape had occurred.

The woman in the 2018 case in question said she was “frozen with fear,” which prevented her from resisting what experts describe as a common response in sexual assault.

Demonstrators make their way during the Women’s March in Barcelona. The march originated in Washington DC but soon expanded into a global march calling on all concerned citizens to stand up for equality, diversity and inclusion and for women’s rights to be recognized as human rights worldwide.


David Ramos/Getty Images)

The five men were eventually convicted of rape by Spain’s Supreme Court in a second appeal ruling, which ruled that intimidation could be atmospheric and not necessarily expressed, but by that time the government was already working on reform.

For the conservative opposition party People’s Party, the reform “endangers the presumption of innocence” because “it shifts the burden of proof” to the accused, who then has to prove his consent.

The reform, broadly aimed at helping women and girls gain more freedom in their personal relationships and make decisions about their bodies, includes a number of measures to reduce the culture of rape, including a ban on pornography advertising and mandatory Sex education in schools for all ages.

Victims of sexual violence are also entitled to the social and economic support that has recently been made available to victims of domestic violence.

24-hour crisis centers will open in numerous locations to provide psychological, legal and social support to victims of sexual violence once the reform is passed by the Senate and goes into effect.

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