Spanish High Court Rules That a Kiss Without Consent Is Sexual Assault

The topic is garnering attention in Spain after the country’s former soccer chief, Luis Rubiales, faces a trial for forcibly kissing a female athlete.

AP/Manu Fernandez
The former president of Spain's soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, arrives at the National Court in Madrid, Spain. AP/Manu Fernandez

A kiss given without “express or implied consent” is sexual assault, Spain’s top court ruled on Tuesday. 

The court’s ruling affirmed a lower court’s decision sentencing a police officer to jail for nearly two years after he kissed a woman on the cheek while she was detained, Agence France-Presse reports

“It is clear that the fleeting contact of a non-consensual kiss represents a bodily invasion,” the court noted, per AFP. “A ‘no’ from the victim is not necessary in the face of attempts to kiss a woman, but rather that for there not to be a crime, what is needed is consent. The key is consent, to the point that if consent has not been given, there has been sexual aggression.”

The topic is stirring attention in Spain as the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s former president, Luis Rubiales, is set to stand trial in February after forcibly kissing a Spanish soccer player, Jennifer Hermoso, on her lips without her consent during a medal ceremony. 

The kiss sparked international outrage in what’s been called a “Me Too” moment for women’s soccer. Mr. Rubiales was banned from the soccer organization in October, as the Sun reported, and faces up to four years in prison. After resigning from his position, Mr. Rubiales promised to defend his honor and innocence in a post on X.

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