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After the horror of the 'wolf pack' case, Spanish women have reason to be hopeful

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Justice was a long time coming for the young Spanish woman gang-raped during the Pamplona bull runs in 2016. On Friday, the supreme court in Madrid overturned a lower court’s verdict and found the five men who attacked her guilty of rape rather than sexual abuse, and raised their sentences from nine to 15 years in prison.

The men called themselves la manada (the wolf pack) and their case revealed gaping holes in the Spanish legal system’s approach to sexual violence. According to Amnesty International, three-quarters of EU member states, including Spain, legally recognise an assault as rape only when physical violence, threats or coercion are involved. A victim must have demonstrated resistance, but, in this case, the terrified woman appears frozen in a video clip of the 30-minute attack. The defence argued she was consenting and so the lesser charge was applied.

The Spanish word for rape is violación. This woman was violated twice, first by the wolf pack and second by the law. But the decision by the supreme court marks a shift in this culture of victim-blaming. In the first trial, messages on the wolf pack’s WhatsApp chat, in which the men explicitly talked of purchasing date-rape drugs, were deemed inadmissible by the court, whereas photos taken from the victim’s social........

© The Guardian