From Ana Orantes to Laura Luelmo: two decades of changes in justice | Society

From Ana Orantes to Laura Luelmo: two decades of changes in justice | Society

"How to forget Ana Orantes"That phrase is the first one that Flor de Torres utters when he starts talking about how the look of justice has changed in the fight against gender violence, about how much you have left to do. The fiscal representative of this area in Andalusia for 15 years places the genesis there: "What was before Ana Orantes and what happened after. It was a catharsis that reactivated the feminist movement in Spain and that triggered a social change with very positive consequences at all levels. "It was December 17, 1997 when José Parejo, the ex-husband of Orantes, burned her alive by spraying her with gasoline and lighting a cigarette lighter. Only 13 days before the woman had sat on the set of the Canal Sur program. From time to time to tell Irma Soriano 40 years of beatings, threats, torture, humiliation, insults and abuse that she and her children had suffered. 15 complaints he had filed, and the court ruling when they divorced a year earlier that forced them to continue living together, in a villa in the Granada town of Cúllar Vega.

Today, says Torres, "it would be unlikely that this would happen". Until that moment the macho violence had been normalized by society, in the media there was talk of passion crimes and they were even made sketches in humor, the families were silent and the victims assumed it and hid it. Still after the brutal murder, Francisco Alvarez-Cascos, vice president of the Government of José María Aznar that year, defined it as "an isolated case work of an eccentric". But Orantes was the 59th victim of that year and his testimony, live, put a face to gender violence, for the first time publicly. "This was how Spanish society and the media in general began to wake up and put pressure on", says Torres.

This was also the beginning of a series of debates and legislative changes that in two decades has placed Spain as one of the most advanced countries in this field, according to experts and international organizations; and according to the current legislation: the comprehensive law against gender violence of 2004, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in 2011 Y the 2017 State Pact. After Ana Orantes, many other names have promoted legal reforms and have served as a springboard for social transformation. Here, lawyers and lawyers review the cases and sentences that have contributed to changing the legislative landscape in the last 20 years.

The order of withdrawal and psychological violence, 1999

The murder of Orantes was, according to Flor de Torres, "a social and media shot". "The misunderstanding of society regarding some decisions of justice initiated a path of changes that, unfortunately, continue to happen after some resolutions, although sometimes, as in this case, they were not immediate," he says, referring to the existence of controversial decisions. that open the debate on the protection of victims by justice. Although, he says, "they are the least".

In 1999 a reform of the Penal Code and the Law of Criminal Procedure was made that introduced the persecution of abuse of the trade (without there being a complaint by the aggressed), psychological violence as a crime and restraining orders. In article 48 it was forbidden to approach or communicate with the victim, his family or other persons that the courts ruled by any means. Later, that article was expanded. In 2003, it included that, when a restraining order was established, the regime of visits, communication and stay that, if applicable, had been recognized in a civil judgment until full compliance was also suspended with regard to the children (if any). of this penalty "; and the possibility that the control of these measures would be carried out through electronic means. And in 2015, special measures were written for the protection of victims with intellectual disabilities.

The protection order, 2003

In the summer of 2003, the Criminal Procedure Law was amended and In the BOE, a new law was published to regulate protection orders. The objective was that the judges could adopt provisional civil and criminal measures, within a maximum period of 72 hours, after receiving a complaint of sexist violence. "It will mean, in turn, that the different public administrations, state, autonomous and local, immediately activate the instruments of social protection established in their respective legal systems, which is precisely the most innovative element," the text of the new norm published on July 31, 2003.

Eight months later, Encarnación Rubio became the first victim of sexist violence with a protection order after having denounced. In the same town where José Parejo burned Ana Orantes, Cúllar-Vega, Francisco Jiménez ran over three times to what was still his wife in April 2004. Until then about 7,800 protection orders had been issued, but only one victim was enough to open the debate about the lack of police and judicial coordination – mistakes that allowed Jiménez to approach the woman – and the absence of training and awareness about gender violence that existed in almost all professionals involved.

The Law of Gender Violence, 2004

"It was an absolute revolution, almost a legislative schizophrenia …" The fiscal Flor de Torres recalls the approval of the Gender Violence Law as an unthinkable leap a few years before. "That pioneering law at the world level produced a radical change when it comes to seeing and treating sexist violence at all levels." The norm was approved on October 7, 2004 by unanimity of the Congress -320 votes cast, 320 yeses- and it was the first specific European legislation in this area. The courts of violence against women were created, aid for victims was implemented and judicial, labor and educational measures were included. In addition, vexatious advertising was banned and, in the midst of a strong controversy, he they included criminal aggravations for the aggressors when they were men, then extended to the person who mistreated another if it was "especially vulnerable" and cohabited. Among many other measures.

The aggravating gender and joint lists, 2008

Octavio Salazar, legal expert in constitutional and feminist law, emphasizes "the judicial reaction" that led to the introduction of that aggravating circumstance, for which article 153.1 of the Criminal Code was modified and which caused the Constitutional Court to receive more than 200 questions of unconstitutionality. That was settled on May 13, 2008 with seven votes in favor and five against the constitutionality. "The question is how the equality and protection of women could raise that commotion," says Salazar. He wonders if there really were those who did not perceive the profound inequality that existed – "and exists" – between men and women, and the clear pattern of continuous violence against the latter.

The sentence that resolved, says the jurist, "was the first in which a normative differentiation was considered, sustained by a deep-rooted structural inequality". The Court based that "differential treatment" on the idea that it is not worth pursuing equality with "mere formalities". "What are the obstacles that prevent women from enjoying the same thing that men do? There we have to go, that must be changed". That same year, and also with that objective, the same organ dismissed the appeal of unconstitutionality filed by the Popular Party against the electoral lists that are included in the Equality Act, approved in 2007. For Salazar, both judgments of the high court introduce "an almost revolutionary juridical doctrine, because never before had addressed gender equality from this perspective, the gender "

The first minor direct victim of sexist violence, 2014

Flor de Torres, the deputy prosecutor of Andalusia for gender violence, says that not a day goes by when she does not remember Leonor: "She was the first legal and direct victim of gender violence. , they count and name the children killed to multiply the pain of the mother by a thousand. " Leonor, who was seven years old, was murdered by her father on March 31, 2013, during one of the visits that the judge had stipulated after the separation of both parents, after he was convicted of threats. De Torres battled for almost a year because the murder of the girl was not considered domestic violence. In 2014, an order from the Audiencia de Málaga gave him the reason: "From that point on, not only did the perspective of violence against minors change, but also the laws, and jurisprudence was established." "It was very fast," says Torres, who recalls that in September of the following year, the Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, "which endorsed minors as victims of gender violence."

The State as responsible for sexist violence, 2018

Andrea, the daughter of Ángela González, was murdered a decade before Leonor. He was also seven years old and so was his father, separated from his mother. Viviana Waisman, the president of Women's Link, the organization that represented Gonzalez, says that she had often denounced the danger that the girl ran with the parent, "but a court forced her to comply with an unsupervised visitation regime." On one of those visits he murdered the girl and committed suicide. At that time, "Ángela initiated a long legal process of more than 15 years to demonstrate the responsibility of the Spanish State in the death of her daughter." Women's Link and González brought the case before the Committee of the United Nations for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): in 2014 he gave his reason and condemned Spain and issued a series of measures. "Spain refused to comply with them," recalls Waisman. "Ángela had to litigate another four years, demanding compliance with that ruling until, a few months ago, in July 2018, the Supreme Court gave him the reason and condemned Spain for the murder of her daughter. "

The sentence of this case, according to the jurist, is historical: "Not only for the reparation that it supposes for Ángela, to whom the State must indemnify, but because for the first time it is recognized that a State can be responsible for gender violence if he does not put the means at his disposal to avoid it. " In addition, the ruling, recognizing that the CEDAW opinion is binding, recognizes the obligation of the State to comply with international standards. Something that for Waisman has a high impact on the work of those who dedicate themselves to the defense of human rights: "Because they can use it as a precedent when they need to demand that the State apply international rulings."

Sexist violence beyond couples or ex-partners, 2016

Diana Quer and Laura Luelmo were attacked, detained, raped and murdered by men they did not know. "Forced disappearance with a sexual mobile", defines Lucía Avilés, of the Association of Women Judges of Spain. Quer disappeared in mid-August 2016 and his body was found on December 31, 2017; of Luelmo nothing was known for five days, between December 12 and 17, 2018. First Quer and then Luelmo opened the debate on the concept of the victim with force: "It is proposed to extend this concept within the parameters of the State Pact against Gender Violence and the Convention of Istanbul (the European agreement to fight against sexist violence), which we had already ratified ". Aviles explains that violence, in any of its forms, disproportionately affects women just because it is and any regulation should adjust to that reality: "Since 2016, both the Government Delegation for Gender Violence and the Observatory, they undertook to collect data on other forms of sexist violence, and the General Council of the Judiciary took the step and began to talk about feminicide after studying several sentences of 2016 ".

Since last October 1st, The Delegation collects data in an official way to create a new statistic of sexist violence in parallel to the existing one. "We have to ask ourselves why since 2014, when we ratified the Istanbul Convention, our legal system has not been adapted, why are these resistances, are we prepared as a society to face the figures that would exist if we accounted for all forms of violence? [mutilación genital femenina, violencia económica, trata, prostitución, matrimonios forzados…]? "Avilés opts for due diligence, a legal concept included in International Law:" It determines that the State has to assume commitments to protect interests or relevant legal rights. In this case, it would be a matter of fulfilling the global commitments assumed in terms of gender. "

The review of sexual crimes in the Penal Code, 2018

At dawn on July 7, 2016, five men abused an 18-year-old girl in a Pamplona portal. What happened that first night of Sanfermines became one of the most mediatic cases in Spanish history, the case of La Manada. Since that day, the history and judicial procedure, unfinished, "showed a macho vision of justice and highlighted, more than ever, the need to judge from a gender perspective," says María Andrés, family lawyer and feminist. . The five men, sentenced to nine years for sexual abuse with prevalimiento, now await the decision of the Supreme Court, after passing through the Provincial Court of Navarre and the Superior Court of Justice of the regional community, whose decisions led to demonstrations and protests in the streets, on social networks, in the media and even, at the political and international level.

The treatment of the victim during the trial Y the qualification of the crime -If it was abuse, without violence or intimidation, or sexual assault, with abuse or intimidation- were the triggers of the mobilizations. Mª Eugènia Gay, dean of the Bar Association of Barcelona (ICAB), talks about the "fracture between the popular feeling of citizenship and the judicial system" that led to the sentence. "And in turn, something more serious: that something has failed". Explains that, in Spain, the Criminal Code states that a sexual relationship without mutual consent is a crime against women's sexual freedom: "If the necessary consent in any relationship is violated, women victims are deprived of their freedom, authority and opportunity that man enjoys. " That is why he assures that both the ruling and the individual votes (which supposed two conflicting visions of the same proven facts: sexual abuse with prevalimiento against the "sexual merriment" to which one of the magistrates referred) "should make us think about whether we should reform the Penal Code and the need to judge from a gender perspective, starting with consent as a matter of maximum urgency"

Manifestation in Barcelona against the decision of the Audiencia de Navarra to release the members of La Manada in June 2018.
Manifestation in Barcelona against the decision of the Audiencia de Navarra to release the members of La Manada in June 2018.

From that sentence, a reformed commission to incorporate more women (now the majority) studies the reform of sexual crimes in the Penal Code. "And very important," adds Maria Andrés, "melon was opened to the requirement of training in all legal operators." Something that in the judicial scope was put in October on the table of the Congress with a change that still has not been closed to convert the gender violence in a legal specialty such as Mercantil or Minors, which will require more than a year of preparation and not a few hours of course online, as usual.

Aggravating: that a child perceives an aggression even if he does not see it, 2018

Last April, the Supreme Court established in a judgment that an aggressor macho violence he may be sentenced with the aggravating circumstance "in the presence of minors" even if the children do not see the aggression directly. The sentence that, although children are not present, "They listen and are fully aware of what is happening, noting both verbal expressions that contain an aggressive or violent component, and noise that is typical of a blow or other aggression." The lawyer and for ten years president of theand the Commission for the Investigation of Ill-Treatment of Women in Spain Consuelo Abril has been dedicated to family law for four decades and says that he has never let minors be present in his office, because he knows what happens: "When there is a latent tension that can explode, verbally or physically, there is something that it marks them forever, they cover their ears, if they are at home they get under the sheets of their bed or they hide where they can … ". This sentence, for the lawyer, is closer to the reality that justice must configure, because "children feel that emotional charge, they notice the tones of voice and the climate that there is in any environment." Protecting them is also our duty, for the present and for the future, because sometimes, a permanent exposure to these situations normalizes violent behavior. "

Removal for abuse without injury, 2018

For Alba Pérez, lawyer of Platform 7N, Judge Llarena's ruling of August 2018 on the implication of a restraining order When there is abuse even if there are no injuries, it is "an important resolution with a gender perspective". The ruling, which unified the criterion on this issue -the provincial hearings had not kept a uniform idea about it-, He also alleged that pulling a woman's arm, pushing or grabbing her hair can be punished with imprisonment between seis months and a year. "Here, justice is understanding that the psychological integrity of the victim is also something to protect, and that is what justice must do, encompass violence in all its manifestations and be oriented towards greater protection of the victims."

Manifestation in Barcelona against gender violence in November 2017.
Manifestation in Barcelona against gender violence in November 2017.

During the past year, in addition, The Supreme Court interpreted for the first time in which cases the gender aggravation must be applied, established that it will not be necessary to prove the macho intention for an aggression to be gender violence, e even dictated how you have to measure the distance in the restraining orders.

For the experts, these advance shape the possibility of a future in which the gender perspective is inherent in justice, and although not all are always optimistic – the lawyer María Andrés says that 2019 will have to be "by force" twice as much. feminist to face the political storm [en referencia a Vox]- they try. Alba Pérez recalls that "fair justice that applies the gender perspective makes us move towards an egalitarian society", and in that same line concludes Octavio Salazar, who says that "a democracy can not function without material, real equality". Viviana Waisman, the president of Women's Link, adds that these resolutions are a way "to open the door for the protection system to improve and other women do not go through the same thing". In the end, prosecutor Flor de Torres sentences, everything is a matter of "empathy". "Justice has to be the mirror of a reality, we have to do our job well, reaching the balance that society understands judicial decisions and justice does the same with social demands."


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