The threat was carried out. Pedro Sánchez had shown himself willing to give in on matters related to laws of the Ministry of Equality directed by Irene Montero for a good part of the legislature. His priority was always to preserve peace in the government coalition. But four months after the regional and municipal elections, the consequences of the ‘only yes is yes’ law – more than 400 reductions in sentences for sexual assault and thirty releases – have marked a clear turning point. The PSOE, by direct order of the president, yesterday took the step of registering alone a bill that modifies the text and recovers the penalties prior to the reform of the Penal Code included in the norm.
The decision places the Executive in an extremely delicate situation. Although both parties insist that they have no intention of breaking up, the tension is great. The person in charge of Equality of the PSOE, Andrea Fernández, appealed this Monday to the social alarm and launched a very critical message with Montero’s position. «This is not about assignments or egos or stories. We understand and accompany all the victims and because we firmly believe in this law – she argued – we believe it is necessary to improve it ». Podemos, for his part, came to warn that he will do whatever “it takes” to prevent the initiative from prospering by adding to his position the investiture bloc.
The usual allies –ERC, Bildu, PNV, Más País, Compromís…– maintain a prudent attitude for the moment while waiting to analyze the proposal prepared by the Ministry of Justice. But if they sided with the purples, the key would be held by the PP, and for the main opposition party to save Sánchez on such a core issue for the left would shake the foundations of the Executive. “Sánchez will pay for it,” the still influential former leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, came to warn a few days ago.
The socialist spokesman in the lower house, Patxi López, affirmed that his party has no intention of negotiating “anything” with the popular, but he did not reject their “free” votes either. In other words, the option of going back and withdrawing his proposal if that is the only possibility of changing the law is not, for the moment, on the table. “We – he reminded the purple ones – have had discrepancies with some laws such as the ‘trans law’ and we accept the decision of this Parliament. We expect the same from everyone.”
The Socialists had already warned that they were in a hurry and were willing to take the step of bringing their proposal to Parliament alone last Monday, after two months of private (and unsuccessful) discussion between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Equality, but the Montero’s protest actions this weekend convinced them that there was no point in waiting any longer. His partners, however, reproach them for not informing them of their intentions on Sunday night. During the last week both parties assured that their objective was to reach an agreement and they did not stop exchanging proposals, but time and time again they collided on the same point.
Justice defends that the only viable “technical solution” -not to prevent sentence reviews that can no longer be stopped, but so that future aggressors do not have a lower punishment than the one that would have been imposed before the 7th of The legislation of the discord will enter into force in October – it involves introducing a subtype that contemplates the previous forks in all cases of sexual assault committed with “violence and intimidation”. Podemos, who reluctantly agreed to increase the penalties despite insisting that the rule is “well done”, replies that this formula means “de facto” returning “to the Penal Code of La Manada” and “destroying consent” as the central axis of the law, something that the socialist party rejects.
Sources from the Ministry of Justice maintain that the approaches of the purples have “blurred the problem” and that the great advance of the law of comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom is in article 178.2, which considers “in any case” sexual assault the acts of sexual content that are carried out using “violence, intimidation or abuse of a situation of superiority or vulnerability of the victim, as well as those that are carried out on people who are deprived of meaning or whose mental situation is being abused and those that are carried out when the victim has his will annulled for any reason”. This implies, they emphasize, that if it is proven that there has been violence, it is no longer necessary to prove that there was no prior consent.
In addition, they argue that it is logical that there is a graduation of penalties based on the seriousness of the acts committed and that a case in which there has been violence and one in which there has not cannot be punished in the same way. “We build laws, not stories – they also defend themselves against the reproaches of Podemos -. Judges apply laws, not stories. And what changes people’s lives are the laws, not the stories. The same sources admit, in any case, that the increase in penalties that is now proposed is fundamentally due to a “political decision.” “In this you have to have courage and determination and you have to do what has to be done,” they allege.
The Government delegate against Gender Violence and former Podemos deputy, Victoria Rosell, however, assured that the socialist initiative could give rise to a “second wave” of sentence reviews when those caused by the law in force are already, she argued, ending.
Iglesias calls one of the authors of the socialist amendment a “recognized macho”
The former Vice President of the Government Pablo Iglesias accused the PSOE on Monday of promoting a reform of the ‘only yes is yes’ law drafted with the support of a jurist who, according to the also former leader of Podemos, is an “accredited macho” and a ” machirulo de libro» who once stated that consent was «a theater». «Can anyone believe that a rule written by a sexist accredited by his messages on Twitter, who despised the law of ‘only yes is yes’, respects that consent remains in the center? It’s a lie,” Iglesias declared on Cadena Ser, expressly referring to criminal justice Francisco Javier Álvarez García -according to Europa Press-, while accusing the Socialists of making a “false story” because, according to him, with their changes it would return to the “penal system of ‘La Manada'”.