Only Yes Means Yes and Gender Violence Laws in Spain under Scrutiny

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“Only Yes Means Yes” Law

In Spain, a new law, “Only Yes means Yes”, was enacted in 2022, which is about consent in intimate relationships. It caused a storm of protest because the law was badly drafted and resulted in a large number of people convicted of rape, sexual assault or paedophilia having their sentences reduced and some being released. The Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was forced to apologise publicly for the errors made. The Minister for Equality Irene Montero was again at the centre of the controversy.

Montero has a talent for stirring things up and causing uproar. Last June she was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay a man €18,000 after “outrageous” allegations in public against him  as an abuser without any legal basis. Montero also said judges need more training to overcome gender bias and accused some of not obeying the law.

False allegations kill

The new law created a wider range for sentencing and because of poor drafting it resulted in some of those already convicted of sexual assault and abuse getting an automatic reduction in their prison sentences. The Spanish Domestic Abuse support group Anavid says 1200 sex offenders got reduced sentences, 121 were released from prison and that 70% of the beneficiaries are paedophiles. It claims that the Government was warned in advance of the consequences of enacting this law in 22 reports which were censored by the Ministry and names the legal institutions which authored some of these reports.

Action at the EU Parliament

Anavid is now taking action at the EU parliament to have not only this law but also the notorious Viogen or Gender Violence Law of 2004 scrutinised for what  it claims are violations of  EU law as laid down in the ECHR and EU Directives. Among the very serious charges which they level are:

Violations of the Presumption of Innocence

Violations of equality before the law and the protection of victims.

The group also points to the Primacy of EU law over Spanish law. They further allege that men are discriminated against because they can be convicted on the word of the woman alone and because of the reversal of the burden of proof.

According to Anavid the term “sexual aggression” in the Yes means Yes law covers a whole array of acts, a hug, a kiss, a peck on the mouth but only and exclusively  if the man does it, not if a woman does it, just as in the Gender Violence Law.

Spain is now the only country in the world with two types of courts depending on the sex and the relationship of the defendant:

A court for heterosexual men, partner or ex-partner of a woman

A court for all other domestic abuse cases.

The documents prepared by Anavid for the EU Parliament are lengthy and detailed and are horrifying in the extent of the prejudice against men which underlie them.

Challenge to the Statistics

Anavid has also challenged the state statistics on deaths from Domestic Violence and has set down its own figures as in the Left Column below



Children 16                                                                                  Children 4

Women 76                                                                                   Women  50

Men  22                                                                                        Men    0

Total  114 Victims                                                             Total   54  Victims

Source:  Newspapers                                                  Source: Government, Ministry

Left Column: Children, women or men murdered by their family, relatives, caregivers or house mates

Right Column: Children murdered by father or women murdered by partner or ex-partner but only if a man.

Column Two only includes women murdered by heterosexual men (partner or ex-partner).

Women murdered by girl-friend, son, daughter,. Children murdered by mother, sister, brother… Men murdered by wife, brother,  boy-friend… Are All EXCLUDED.

Where is the Equality and Non-Discrimination? Apparently male deaths from domestic violence do not count for the Spanish government.

The more allegations the more funds from Spanish Government and the EU.

False Allegations

Anavid also put the question: What is a false allegation for the judiciary and the Prosecutor General’s  Office in Spain?

  1. It has to go to Oral trial to be prosecuted ex officio by the judge and prosecutor
  2. The prosecutor’s office must file the case and withdraw the allegation against the man
  3. A prosecution must be opened against the woman
  4. The conviction of the woman for False Allegation must occur within the year since the woman reported the allegation to the police.

As Anavid opines  It is easier to win the Lottery.

Decline in marriage

Anavid comments that women whose accusations have been rejected by the courts are still recognised as victims obtaining a lot of benefits including monetary benefits in certain Communities in Spain.

Of the 4,092 suicides in Spain in 2022, 3,042 were men; it is estimated that 72% of the men were denounced under the Gender Violence law or were involved in the divorce process.

The decrease in marriages has already been referred to elsewhere and the falling birth rate.

Ireland: Victims of Crime Act 2017

This action has real interest for Ireland too as the designation “victim” which appears in Spanish law and has caused public objections there also appears in Irish law in the Victims of Crime Act 2017, and ultimately  derives from an EU Directive on Victims.

The problem issues from use of the term “victim” in a trial before any judgment has been arrived at and where the term “complainant” is not only more appropriate but protects the right of the accused person to the presumption of innocence. This terminology has been condemned by Angela Rafferty QC, chairwoman of the Criminal Bar Association in the UK (link below). She warned about a practice increasingly evident here: “sexual offence cases where the complainant is labelled victim before a trial has even started… But this is not a simple gender issue—women v men—its deeper than that. The CPS has taken its eye off the ball on disclosure… miscarriages of justice will occur if this isn’t fixed quickly”.

The Victims of Crime Act says:

  1. (2) The application of this Act is not dependent on the commission of an offence having to be established (nor is it dependent on establishing whether the person concerned suffered any harm caused by an offence).

It is an indictment of our Oireachtas that this Act was passed without this dangerous provision being removed.



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