The concept of “Only Yes Means Yes”

People all over the world are running campaigns on social media and newspapers ‘Only yes means yes’. This campaign is being run for awareness regarding consent of women in any sexual act. It has become a movement. In this, people are trying to convince the governments, courts and law makers of their respective countries that the silence of the victim in any crime should not be considered as her consent. Because by doing this the criminals will not get proper punishment and it will be injustice to the victim in serious crime.

Meaning of ‘Only Yes Means yes’

‘Only Yes Means Yes’ means consent of a woman to a sexual act is considered only when she explicitly says “yes”. Not being able to protest under any pressure, fear or any other reason cannot be taken as his consent.

Roots of the campaign

In 2016, an 18-year-old girl was raped by five men in Spain and also made a video of it. In this video the girl is seen silently not objecting. The defense presented the same video in a Spanish court and argued that the girl’s “consent” was clearly visible in it. Accepting this argument, the court did not consider it a rape. It was argued that the girl did not explicitly object at the time of the Sexual Act, so it was not rape. The court held the five accused guilty of only “sexual assault” instead of rape. Against this decision, a wave of protest spread throughout Spain, demonstrations took place and people objected.

In 2019, Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced the five accused to 15 years in prison, considering the act of criminals as rape in this serious case.

Due to the awareness that came after this incident, almost 6 years later, in 2022, the lower house of Spain’s parliament has passed a bill in which the rape victim does not need to prove rape. According to its provisions, if the victim has not given explicit consent to the Sexual Act, then it will be treated as rape. Mere silence or non-resistance will not be considered as consent of the victim.

Main Provisions of this Bill

  • Action should be taken under the law of sexual violence in cases like harming private parts of women, forced marriage, sexual harassment, trafficking for sexual exploitation
  • Special attention will also be given to sexual violence on digital platforms. In this, the promotion of sexual violence, making porn content without consent, inviting online to participate in the sexual act should also be considered a crime.
  • Rape and other sexual harassment cases should be kept in the same catagory.If the accused gave any intoxicant or drugs without informing the victim before the sexual act, then this should also be considered an offense.
  • Sharing objectionable or personal photos without consent should be considered a crime.
  • Ads that promote gender stereotypes or sexual violence against women should be considered illegal
  • Ban on every advertisement related to prostitutionIn this, there is a provision of imprisonment of up to 15 years for the offender who has physical relations without consent.
  • Apart from this, gender equality training and sex education should be given to minor offenders who commit sexual violence.
  • Sex education should be made compulsory in studies with special focus on digital sector.
  • 24-hour crisis centers should also be made for the victims.

The victim got justice due to the matter being highlighted in the media and common people raised their voice against the injustice. From this type of cases we can easily understand  the position of women in crimes within the society . We can say is almost the same in every country. In India, a similar case has happened in the Nirbhaya case. In this case too, due to public outrage and protest, the government had to amend almost all the criminal laws in India and make the punishments severe.

Both these cases make us realize the limitations of the courts in interpreting the law and we can realize that despite being called a modern society, we still need to adopt a better approach towards the condition of women.

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