Human Rights NATIONAL

Senate Committee Readies Harsher Sex Crimes Bill

A Senate committee is working on a bill to change an article covering sexual violence in the penal code. Among others, lawmakers aim to redefine the concept of consent to increase punishment for predators whose victims were unable to explicitly reject sexual actions. A vote will come after Senator Isabel Allende concludes her analysis.

The Senate’s women and gender equality committee has approved a bill to change the definition of sexual consent in the penal code, which would also affect definitions of rape and abuse.

Lawmakers seek to change article 361 to consider situations in which a victim of sexual violence was unable to explicitly refuse consent.

According to a draft, “carnal access or sexual actions that consist of introducing objects of any kind, including other body parts, vaginally, anally or orally, or if animals are used to do so, without the consent of the victim, would constitute rape.”

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Reasons to Punish

Actions will be punishable if they involve force or intimidation, when a perpetrator takes advantage of a victim’s potential lack of sense or inability to refuse, or when mental issues are at play.

A victim’s inability to refuse consent would lead to increased punishment if more than one perpetrator was involved.

 The same penalties will apply when a victim consents under pressure or is in a situation of vulnerability. Crucially, “the mere lack of action or refusal from the victim does not constitute a manifestation of consent,” according to the bill.

The Senate will vote the bill after analysis by Socialist Party Senator Isabel Allende.

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