Protests erupted after it was revealed that some men were sentenced to reduced prison sentences due to a loophole created by the new law on sexual abuse.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, thousands marched through Madrid and Barcelona.
Protesters, many wearing purple, marched down the Gran Via in Madrid’s city centre on Friday evening carrying banners and chanting “no is no, anything else is rape”, and “we women are not goods”. People lit flares and banged drums in Barcelona.
According to statistics, 1,171 Spanish women have been killed by gender violence since 2003, when statistics started to count fatalities. So far in 2022, 38 women have died.
“I’ve come here because of the problem of gender violence, because of all the deaths that are occurring, the mistreatment of women…” said teacher and Madrid resident Susana Rita, 42.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked men on Friday to step forward to stop machismo.
“Male violence is a tragic reality that shames us every day,” he said at a Socialist Party event.
Protests erupted after it was revealed that certain men were sentenced to a reduced prison term due to a loophole in the new law regarding penalties for sexual abuse. This has caused anger and heated debate among politicians.
The law, known as the “only yes means yes” law, classifies any non-consensual sex as rape but also sets lighter minimum sentences for certain sexual crimes.
According to Europa Press, at least 11 sexual abusers convicted have seen their sentences reduced and five men were released from prison.
Chants of “only yes means yes” rang through the crowds on Friday evening.