Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

The Supreme Court ruled that silence and harassment "complicit" in the environment discouraged victims of abuse to denounce

The silence of the environment of victims of sexist violence and "complicit bullying" in the environment of the aggressor directly influences women not reporting or delaying reporting violence they suffer. So clear is the Supreme Court in a ruling on Wednesday that sentenced a man to 16 years and 11 months in prison for sexually assaulting and mistreating his partner. The court thus reduces the penalty imposed by the Provincial Court of Vizcaya of 17 years and 9 months – later confirmed by the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country – to absolve him of a crime of threats.

The proven facts show that the victim was sexually assaulted and abused on several previous occasions, something that the victim had previously hidden, assuring that the injuries he had were accidentally caused, but that he did recognize them in the trial. Faced with this, the Supreme Court addresses in the ruling, with a presentation by magistrate Vicente Magro, a situation that, he says, "frequently occurs" and causes many victims not to denounce at the time and wait for when a serious event occurs, as in this case the one of the violation, to "put it in the knowledge of the authority".

The Supreme Court concludes that "the two directions" in which the mistreatment moves, in the sense of the lack of support from the victim's environment and the pressure exerted by the environment of the man so that he does not denounce, " they become a slab for the victim when he wants to denounce. " And it is that the Provincial Court highlights that the woman was left in a situation of "loneliness and vulnerability" after the presentation of the complaint: "She remains alone and sees that all her countrymen and countrymen declare in favor of the accused, organize events to support (to man) and question the life and credibility "of it, he says.

Thus, the court notes the importance in these cases of "the complicit silence" of the victim's environment and "complicit harassment" of the aggressor's environment, even "questioning this environment the credibility of the victim and denying the existence of abuse "

"It seems likely," continues the ruling, "that she would perceive that future and that it would motivate her not to denounce". The court points out that these situations generate a huge bag of hidden crime in relation to this crime – only in one of every five cases of murders for sexist violence since 2003 was a complaint – derived from "the victim's loneliness" and, reiterates , the reaction of the environment of the aggressor. Thus, the ruling indicates that "the feeling of fear" of the victims in the face of these possible consequences "provokes rejection of the complaint" together with "the lack of aid from their environment".

Therefore, the sentence recalls that the delay in reporting can not "become doubts" about the credibility of the victims, but must be a factor to take into account when analyzing the victim's statement. A testimony that, explains the ruling, must be assessed within the context "of suffering suffered by the victim in the face of abuse", which can be increased a posteriori by "the society itself" and the environments of both. For the Supreme Court, this provokes the double victimization of women and "makes comprehensible" the refusals to denounce, to withdraw from the process or to change the statements in the oral trial even "to benefit the aggressors".

(tagsToTranslate) Supreme (t) seriousness (t) silence (t) complicate (t) violence

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