Spanish court clears five men of gang-raping child
Five men from Manresa in Catalonia were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in prison for the less serious offence of sexual abuse, while two others were acquitted. One of them watched the attacks while masturbating.
The victim said her memory was hazy after alcohol but she said she felt “intimidated” like she “had to do it” because the men had a pistol, which later turned out to be a dummy.
Psychologists who treated the victim for trauma supported the teenager’s evidence, and a female witness confirmed that the men had taken turns to rape the victim.
The prosecution asked for the men to be convicted of sexual aggression, which carries a 15- to 20-year term, saying the child had been unable to defend herself.
The court ruled the men, aged 18 to 21, “were able to carry out these sexual acts without resorting to violence or intimidation” because the girl was “in an unconscious state” from drugs and alcohol “and didn’t know what she was or wasn’t doing”.
At a hearing in June, the girl told the court that Bryan Andrés, 21, told the other men they had “15 minutes each” and he forced her to have sex while holding a gun.
The victim was awarded €12,000 compensation for the “extremely intense and particularly degrading” attacks. The judges rejected a defence claim that they were unaware the child was under 16 and so below the age of consent.
Altamira Gonzalo of the women’s legal group Themis condemned the verdict.
“The Barcelona court continues to believe that women must put up a heroic resistance,” Gonzalo told the media. “They have taken a benevolent view of men who, with their trousers round their ankles, took turns at raping a 14-year-old girl who, as well as being under the effects of alcohol, was in a situation where she couldn’t defend herself.
“The judges have had no difficulty seeing this from the point of view of the aggressors but that not of the victim.”
The attack took place at a party in an abandoned factory in October 2016.
The case is reminiscent of the “wolf pack” gang rape of an 18-year-old during Pamplona’s San Fermín bull-running festival in 2016, which saw protests against the verdict finding the five men guilty of sexual abuse rather than rape with intimidation or violence.
Spanish women are demanding legal changes. Picture credit: Wikimedia