Julia Ropero Carrasco and Sandra López de Zubiría Díaz (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid)
The regulation of so-called “sexual crimes” has traditionally been accompanied by significant and heated debates. If we refer to its historical regulation, it is possible to see how “honour” or “morality” have clouded adequate protection of the victim, essentially due to the mistaken identification of the harmfulness of these acts. From 1995 onwards, with the so-called “Penal Code of Democracy”, it seemed that the regulation had been translated into important improvements, especially by consolidating “sexual freedom” as the legal right to be defended, instead of the previous obsolete conceptions. However, despite the commendable effort to abandon the conventional “sexual morality”, the truth is that this reform brought with it a lack of protection for victims, especially in the area of minors and trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which led to different revisions accompanied in turn by controversy over the timeliness of the reforms.
For this reason, the controversies surrounding the regulation (and its application) of sexual offences have not ceased to be present, although it is in the wake of the well-known case of “La Manada” and the various sentences issued on the matter that Spanish society has been particularly rallied and, with it, the debate on the appropriateness of criminal reform in this area has been reignited.
As a current context, it is necessary to pay attention to the data extracted from the 2019 Macro-survey on violence against women, as well as from the Report on Social Perception of Sexual Violence, which shows the prominence of sexual violence in women’s lives, the problem of under-reporting of the facts and, more worryingly, the maintenance of stereotypes about sexual violence (especially with regard to the conception of the “rapist” as a sick person and not as one of the perverse derivations of a patriarchal order that maintains a strong discrimination against women in the sexual sphere and a definition of roles that promotes male domination).Continue reading “On the reform of sexual offences in Spain”