Spain’s equality minister sparks congressional outrage, accusing PP of ‘promoting rape culture’

The SPANISH Congress of Deputies again witnessed scenes of extreme political tension on Wednesday, as Equality Minister Irene Montero launched an attack on the opposition People’s Party. Just last week, leftist Unidas Podemos party politician was left almost in tears after sexist comments were made to him by far-right group Vox. But today she caused outrage by accusing the PP of ‘promoting the culture of rape’.

Montero has been at the center of a national scandal caused by the new ‘only yes means the law of consent of yes, which had the unintended effect of seeing the sentences of convicted sex offenders reduced in some cases, and even their early release at the end of their sentence. Montero refused to accept responsibility for the legislation and even initially blamed “sexist judges” for not applying it properly.

Last week, during a debate in Congress, which is the lower house of Spain’s parliament, Montero was on the verge of tears when Vox MP Carla Toscano made a sexist jibe about the minister’s partner. equality, the founder of Podemos and former Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias, as well as calling her a “liberator of rapists”.

In today’s session, Montero defended the new consent law and said it protects all victims, highlighting its advances but failing to mention the unexpected effect lowering some of the sentences has had. minimal.

His comment on the PP promoting rape culture referred to campaigns in regions where the party rules, such as a controversial advert in Galicia featuring a jogger who focused on women’s clothing choices. “You are wearing sports shorts. You will run at night. What happens next? It shouldn’t happen, but it does,” the ad read.

The moment Montero made the controversial comments.

“You blame the victims and hold them accountable for all the assaults they suffer,” she said. “You are promoting a culture of rape that calls into question the credibility of victims.”

The comment provoked howls of outrage from PP politicians in the chamber, and it took some time for the speaker of the chamber to bring them to order.

Shortly after, PP spokesman Cuca Gamarra told reporters in the halls of Congress that “someone like that cannot be in the Cabinet, because the government speaks through his mouth.” She added that “everything has a limit”.

Meanwhile, the Socialist Party, which is Unidas Podemos’ main partner in Spain’s coalition government, distanced itself from Montero’s remarks. Justice Minister Pilar Llop says the PP ‘does not encourage any kind of culture against women’, in remarks reported by the Spanish daily El Mundo. However, she called on the party to be “aware of the need to continue progress on equality”.

Socialist congressional spokesman Patxi López said Montero’s words “weren’t the best” after what happened last week with Vox, adding that “precisely because she suffered this verbal aggression, she shouldn’t play with it.”

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