There is a phrase that has been repeated with some frequency in feminist circles for a long time: “It’s a disaster.” The legislature, which began with the rise of a strong feminist wave that has shaken society over the past decade, ends with a movement marred by partisan infighting between coalition government partners. The dispute over trans law and the law “the only yes is yes” has led to the creation of two camps, which, however, are far from the currents and nuances that already existed with feminism.
While it’s hard to put into words what the entire feminist movement, so vast and diverse, is thinking and feeling at such a tense moment, there is a general sense of uneasiness. “It seems to be a matter of factions when our demands go back a long way,” comments the activist, who emphasizes that feminism has always been an autonomous movement that now finds itself torn between factions that seem to politically predetermine who speaks the same way. Or else.. “There is a political war and the big loser in this partisan and institutional shooting is already the feminist movement. This confrontation eliminated all possibility of disagreement, of healthy disagreement. Expressing any opinion is perceived as an attack on one or the other,” says another activist.
Controversy over the revision of sentences since the sexual freedom law came into force – more than 200, according to a compilation by elDiario.es – has led the government to debate whether to change the norm in the criminal justice system. And that meant going back to the beginning, to April 2018. Immediately after the President of the Second Division of the Provincial Court of Navarre, José Francisco Cobo, read the first decision against “La Manada” when the motto began. Which means everything: “It’s not violence, it’s rape.” The protests that took place that day in response to the sentence and those that arose in the case of sexual assault did not require higher fines. The anger was directed against the definition of intimidation and violence that seemed to be required to qualify an attack on sexual freedom as sexual violence.
The result of this social upheaval, four years later, was the approval of a law that eliminated the distinction between crimes based on whether violence or intimidation was involved. The demand for a change in the model came from much further afield, but it was the context created by the historic 8M and the anger over ‘herd’ rule that allowed it to enter the political agenda sharply.
However, the unanimity of 2018 is not far from that of 2023. In this case, how – today the most visible blocs, at least in the eyes of public opinion, are others: those who believe that the PSOE’s proposal to change the sentences undermines the spirit of the regulation, which sought to change the judge of sexual crimes, and those who agree with the PSOE- s idea and does not believe that the fundamentals change. Those who think that the law is good and “unintended consequences” arise from a wrongful judicial application, and those who maintain that something in the rule must be changed to avoid a reduced sentence.
The gap that the trans law opened up
The two blocs draw from the controversy they’ve experienced in recent years over trans law, albeit with nuance. The gap that opened up in the negotiation and elaboration of this norm made visible the differences that already existed around the relationship between feminism and the LGBT movement, but also exposed the contestation for power and feminist hegemony. The rise of the movement as a result of 8M, the massive spread of alternative thinking and the arrival of United We Can in the Ministry of Equality intensified this struggle. Some former socialist leaders who held relevant positions in previous governments or regional executive structures, together with activists and more or less connected academics, formed one such bloc. Against the trans law and gender self-determination, they were very critical of the Ministry of Equality and Irene Montero, and also now, when the “only yes is yes” law is being contested.
In this environment is the Feminist Confluence Movement, which unites 70 organizations. One of its representatives, Sonia Gomez, confirmed these days that the law is “badly designed” and He demanded to change the sentence. The Alliance Against Women’s Erasure also took the Equality Ministry to task: “If a ‘yes is only yes’ law allows sex offenders to go free or have their sentences reduced, it is neither a feminist law nor does it protect women’s rights.” You’re not fooling anyone anymore,” they said in a tweet, quoting Secretary of State for Equality Angela Rodriguez Pam. However, this sector is also highly critical of the PSOE, which they accuse of abandoning women by supporting the trans law.
On the other hand, feminist associations and commissions were signed this week Manifesto against law reform. Organizations such as Amnesty International have added to this text. “The offense against the law is mainly due to a change in perspective, which involves putting women’s consent at the center, so that we do not have to prove that violence and/or intimidation has taken place. Consent is a positive, conscious, voluntary and revocable expression, and its absence constitutes a crime of sexual violence. This law is a reflection of the demands of the feminist movement for years to achieve women’s sexual freedom and to confront sexual violence,” they say in their manifesto, in which they also emphasize that further increases in fines will not protect women more. Instead, other measures, such as those in the standard, are needed. provided for.
The promoters of this manifesto have insisted from the beginning that they do not want their words to be interpreted in party terms. They are not helped by the statements of some leaders of Podemos or the Ministry of Equality, who try to join forces to defend their law, sometimes speaking on behalf of the entire feminist movement, which must continue to defend its autonomy if it wants to. will survive these crises quite strongly.
The ministry’s work has, in fact, a feminist critique. Of course, doing them, internally and externally, is difficult. Serious personal attacks on Irene Montero and others on her team made feminist dissent difficult: the feeling of living in constant attack against the Ministry – but also against anything resembling equality and feminism – led to a greater choice to close ranks. rather than to settle differences and disagreements. “It is enough for the Ministry of Equality to go for the machete,” says the activist.
There are those who, for example, see a mistake in the Ministry, that they did not implement “anti-punitive pedagogy” with this norm or did not foresee the “unwanted consequences”, whose “unwanted consequences” are still being talked about a lot, and vice versa. He maintained that it was impossible to implement them. Some of the criticisms are compatible with the idea that the PSOE’s proposal to emerge from the quagmire of social alarm might mean, de facto, a return to the judicial inertia that led to the norm itself.
The disaster that many cite has to do with this, but also with the factional politics to which everything seems to have boiled down and the enormous complexity that already exists without debate. Events and time show how worn out is the movement that brought the country to the streets and that continues to strive to change everything.
Source: El Diario