Two sentences revive the debate on machismo in justice | Society


We can protest against gender violence in the Congress of Deputies this past November 22. In video, controversial for two sentences on gender violence decreased by the courts.

Two new sentences that bring back memories of the case of La Manada have outraged the public in recent days. One is from the Hearing of Lleida, which condemns to four years and six months, for abuse and not for sexual assault, two men who raped a young woman in Vielha in August 2017, because he did not scream or offer physical resistance, although he said "repeatedly and crying 'not' and 'please, for' clinging tightly to the bars' of a window. The magistrates understand that there was no violence and intimidation to consider it a violation, as dictated by law.

The second one, from the Audiencia de Pamplona, ​​the same room that sentenced La Manada, sentenced to 10 months and 15 days for "occasional mistreatment" to a man who stabbed his wife and tried to suffocate her in front of her children, 3 and 6 years old. One of them, at least once, shouted: "Leave it, do not kill it!". The man released his neck when he saw that he was drowning. The judges consider that the accused ceased to strangle her voluntarily, so that the crime of attempted murder did not proceed.

The consent of the victim seems to be the key in this matter. To not consent, do you need to kick yourself up, risk aggression or lose your life? Should you leave the Penal Code to differentiate between abuse and aggression to deal with this last form any attack on sexual freedom? Why do not judges see intimidation?

The main reasons given by lawyers, lawyers, feminist groups and experts in gender violence to explain these sentences can be summarized in a lack of training of the judiciary on attacks on sexual freedom that prevents a correct interpretation of the facts.

Demonstration in the Sant Jaume Square in Barcelona against the provisional release of the defendants of La Manada on April 27, 2018.
Demonstration in the Sant Jaume Square in Barcelona against the provisional release of the defendants of La Manada on April 27, 2018.

Lucía Avilés, magistrate and spokesperson of the Association of Women Judges, points out that in the case of the young woman who was raped in the Lleida town, the offense is being qualified according to the Criminal Code and that is why it is advisable that "the legal valuations take into has the Istanbul Convention. " This agreement of the Council of Europe sealed in 2011 on prevention and fight against violence against women places consent as the axis and penalizes any sexual act carried out without it. In Spain, the agreement was ratified in 2014 but it is not applied effectively, although the last agreements of the commission of experts that prepares the modification of the Penal Code propose to unify the figures of abuse and aggression in a single type: aggression, a legal adaptation to the social concept of rape that for Aviles is "important": "The sentences do not agree sometimes with the idea that we women have what is against our freedom sexual". In these crimes, the component of physical and emotional superiority of men over women must be read in terms of gender.

The intimidation, says Susana Gisbert, prosecutor specialized in gender violence and spokesman for the Provincial Prosecutor's Office of Valencia, is not achieved by just putting a knife in the neck: "Sometimes a glance is enough to subdue a victim. It would not be necessary or change the Penal Code if the judges modified their interpretation of what happens. You have to wear violet glasses. "

For that, "there is a lack of training, formation and training," repeats Elena Ocejo, president of Equality Lawyers. Training that will foreseeably become a legal specialty as Minors or Mercantile, as agreed on last October 11 unanimously in Congress; So far, that specialization on macho violence it was dispatched with a course online and 10 days of practice.

Legality and clarity

"What we are asking for is that gender perspective that is mandatory according to the UN, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and our national laws," says Ocejo. He explains that since the Equality Act (2007) exists in Spain, the obligation is to interpret and apply the laws according to that principle. "And sentences like these violate it completely. Then they say radical feminists demand ... Yes, they demand legality. " For Ignacio González, spokesperson for Judges and Judges for Democracy, the question would be legal "clarity". "The rules should be clearer so there are no doubts about what needs to be applied."

Estefanny Molina, a lawyer with Women's Link, understands that judges' interpretation "trivializes violence against women because they are not clear about how the dynamics work of that kind of violence. " For feminist groups, this way of interpreting is a "judicial crime", as Ana María Pérez del Campo, president of the Federation of Associations of Separated and Divorced Women, described yesterday.

Yolanda Besteiro, president of the Federation of Progressive Women, lamented the effect that these sentences can have on the following victims: "We ask women to trust the institutions and then those who have to interpret the law to protect them apply it that way . How are you going to trust? "

In the field of psychology warn of the consequences that can lead to these judicial decisions: "Revictimization, helplessness and anxiety." Laura Asensi, clinical and forensic psychologist and professor at the University of Alicante, explains that these women become new victims: "What should be protection and restoration of damage is a new abuse. Women become victims of crime and misunderstanding of the system. " Stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders ... The pathologies are multiplied or intensified and, even, may generate new ones, according to the expert. Another psychologist, Marisol Rojas, an expert in gender violence, mentions learned helplessness: "It is that feeling that occurs in women when they perceive that, whatever they do, it does not matter. That although they take the step of denouncing and going through all the necessary medical and psychological explorations, then they do not believe them and in the end the process makes them suffer more than solving their problem ".

Nuria Coronado, feminist and expert in this field, says it is "a second stab" in a system that "is not blind but blind." "As long as men do not put themselves in the victim's place, understand and empathize with her, there will be no true justice." "Lastres" is called by the gender expert jurist Octavio Salazar: "The problem is the same as always, a chauvinist legal culture in which gender stereotypes are still very capable of action, we must evolve towards one in which the paradigm is not man and where women are recognized as an equivalent subject ". Salazar advocates definitively banishing biases. Meanwhile, he says, "we will continue to find sentences like these."

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said yesterday that "a few factual elements (not in the sense of people) and specific resolutions can not generate distrust before the judicial system." and encouraged the victims to continue reporting.

"Women are afraid of who should protect them"

Javier Portillo

Amnesty International (AI) has presented on Thursday a report in which it points out that women who suffer sexist violence in Spain face a "path of obstacles in assistance, obtaining justice and in the integral reparation of harm", according to Bárbara Tardón, one of the authors, adds that "we have a judicial system that is not specialized in cases of sexual violence." Something that, according to the researcher, "causes women to be afraid of the institutional system that should protect them." The nongovernmental organization, which has devoted two years of study to this epidemic, denounces "the lack of specific public policies to prevent, combat and assist victims and survivors of sexual violence." Tardón warns that "in any community there are crisis centers with professionals prepared and open 24 hours to accompany and assist the victims." In the report itself, under the title It's about time you believe me, it is pointed out that only seven autonomies "have a specialized service for sexual violence", and that, in some cases, "they are in charge of NGOs".

The organization ensures that there are two issues that have been left out of the 212 measures of the State Pact against Gender Violence: "The development of a public policy to combat sexual violence, and measures to repair all victims." AI warns that there are no information campaigns directed at women so they know what steps to take when denouncing, "or awareness and prevention against the different forms of sexual violence in all areas, with special attention to the educational field "

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