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Rubiales: Top Spanish Court Rules Kiss Without Consent is Sexual Assault

The Spanish Supreme Court said on Tuesday that a kiss without “tacit consent” might be constituted sexual assault, only months before former football federation leader Luis Rubiales faces trial for his unwanted kiss at the Women’s World Cup.

The Supreme Court affirmed a lower court verdict from Andalusia’s southern area, which found a police officer guilty of sexual assault and sentenced him to one year and nine months in prison for kissing a woman on the cheek while in police custody.

“A ‘stolen kiss’, and thus without express or implied consent, constitutes sexual assault in actuality,” the court said, adding that “it is clear that the fleeting contact of a non-consensual kiss represents a bodily invasion”.

“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 issue of whether an unsolicited kiss can be considered sexual assault is a hot topic in Spain since Rubiales provoked worldwide outrage by kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony after Spain beat England to win the World Cup in Australia last year.

At the time, Rubiales, 46, brushed it off as “a consensual” peck on the lips, but Hermoso, 34, said it was not.

She filed a lawsuit against Rubiales in September, telling the judge she had come under pressure to defend him both on the flight back from Australia and on a subsequent team holiday to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands.

Rubiales is set to stand trial from February 3 to 19 over the kiss. Public prosecutors have requested a sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison for Rubiales — one year for sexual assault and 18 months for coercion.

The former federation chief, who quit his post last year in the wake of the controversy, told private Spanish television station La Sexta in April that he could not understand how it could be labelled as sexual assault, saying there was “no sexual context” to it.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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