WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A crowd of nearly 200 people gathered outside a court of appeal in Ancona, Italy to protest against the judges who overturned a rape conviction.
- The female judges cleared the rape charges against the two men because they believe that the alleged victim was “not attractive” to be attacked.
- The judges’ reasoning document included a passage that said the victim’s story was “not credible enough as she resembled a man and was therefore unappealing.”
Protesters gathered outside an Italian appeals court following a revelation that rape charges against two men were overturned because the judges who handled the case believed the victim looked “too masculine” and not attractive enough to be attacked.
The 2017 ruling was only revealed on Friday after the country’s highest appeal court trashed the lower court’s verdict and ordered a retrial.
The Peruvian men allegedly raped a 22-year-old woman of Peruvian origin in 2015. They were convicted by a court of the first instance in 2016. The woman’s name was not released publicly under Italian law.
The Ancona appeals court acquitted the two suspects. According to a court document, the judges’ reasoning included a passage that said: “the woman’s story was not credible enough as she resembled a man and was therefore unappealing.”
The all-female judges drew their conclusions from a photograph of the woman. The suspects also said they were not attracted to the victim, with one of them even saving the victim’s number in his mobile phone under the name “Viking”.
“I read this sentence in 2017 and that’s why we referred it to the supreme court,” Cinzia Molinaro, the woman’s lawyer, told The Guardian.
“It was disgusting to read; the judges expressed various reasons for deciding to acquit them, but one was because the [defendants] said they didn’t even like her, because she was ugly. They also wrote that a photograph [of the woman] reflected this.”
The case will be reopened by a Perugia court. According to Molinaro, the suspects spiked the victim’s drink with drugs after they went to a bar after an evening class. Medical reports said her injuries were “consistent with rape” and that her system had a high level of benzodiazepines.
The lawyer also said her client moved back to Peru after being ostracized by the community in Ancona for reporting the men.
Women’s group The Rebel Network organized the Ancona protest, calling the judges’ ruling as “medieval”.
“The worst thing is the cultural message that came from three female judges who acquitted these two men because they decided that it was improbable that they would want to rape someone who looked masculine,” said Luisa Rizzitelli, the group’s spokesperson.
“It’s shameful. But to get almost 200 people at the protest was a miracle for Italy – fortunately, it shows that sensitivity towards such topics is becoming stronger,” she added.
Source: The Guardian