Spain rape law: Outcry as court rules attack not violent - Whisper Eye

Spain rape law: Outcry as court rules attack not violent

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A court’s decision to clear two men of rape despite the victim begging them to stop has prompted outrage in Spain.

The court in Lleida in north-eastern Spain jailed the uncle and nephew for four-and-a-half years for sexual abuse, rather than the graver offence.

A similar verdict in a gang rape case this year prompted large demonstrations against “patriarchal” justice.

Five men were cleared of raping a teenage woman during the San Fermín bull-running festival in Pamplona.

In the latest verdict, the court ruled that the two men had not committed a sexual assault, the equivalent to rape in Spain, because they were deemed not to have used intimidation or violence.

The uncle and nephew had met their victim in a bar and gone with her to a nightclub.

The men then took her to a backstreet where she was forced into sex and a separate sexual act without her consent.

She had pleaded with the men to stop, and cried and vomited afterwards.

The two men “took advantage of her vulnerable nature, which, added to her consumption of alcohol and antidepressants, may have weakened her ability to defend herself, thus making the use of violent or intimidatory acts unnecessary”, the ruling said.

And yet it added that, without intimidation or violence, the crime of sexual assault, which commands a jail term of up to 15 years, could not be applied.

There was indignation online, with thousands sharing their anger at the decision.

One Twitter user Mercedes Domènech described the court ruling as a scandal. “If you don’t defend yourself, it’s not rape. If you do, they kill you.”

The verdict comes as feminists around Spain prepare for a series of 200 demonstrations over the weekend to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.