The new government of Pedro Sanchez is to introduce new legislation to remove any ambiguity in rape cases. The move follows public outrage after five men accused of raping an 18-year-old woman in July 2016 had their charges reduced to sexual assault.
In the incident during Pamplona’s annual San Fermín festival, the men, who are aged between 27 and 29 and called themselves La Manada (the wolf pack), attacked the woman and filmed the assault on their phones, before leaving her half naked.
When the case came to court in April this year, the judges interpreted her “passive, submissive stance” during the incident as consent, and reduced the charges against the gang. Under Spanish law, sexual abuse differs from rape in that it does not involve violence or intimidation.
The ruling provoked outrage and led to demonstrations across the country. All five men are presently on bail pending an appeal against their nine-year sentence. They include a soldier and a Guardia Civil officer, both of whom have been returned to duty.