5 Men Cleared of Gang Rape in Spain Because Victim Was Unconscious, No Violence or Intimidation Said to Have Been Used



While several European countries consider rape to be sex without consent, others have more rigid definitions, as a case drawing backlash in Spain shows. The BBC reports five men were convicted of sexual abuse, not rape, after being accused of gang-raping a teen in 2016. The court ruled against a rape conviction—which would’ve given each of the men up to 20 years behind bars, instead of the 10 to 12 years they each got for the sexual abuse conviction—because Spanish law dictates that intimidation or violence must be used for a sexual crime to be considered rape. In this case, the 14-year-old girl was said to have been in an “unconscious state” due to drugs and alcohol, so the men could do what they wanted without resistance. Prosecutors said the men took turns assaulting the girl, with one of the defendants reportedly telling the others, “It’s your turn. Fifteen minutes each and no delay.”

Local pols and women’s rights advocates are livid at the decision. Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau called it an “outrageous sentence,” adding: “It is not abuse, it is rape!” Meanwhile, the hashtags #JusticiaPatriarcal (patriarchal justice) and #NoEsAbusoEsViolacion (it’s not abuse, it’s rape) started circulating. Australia‘s ABC notes a similar case that went all the way up to Spain’s Supreme Court, in which five men deemed the “Wolf Pack” were accused of gang-raping an 18-year-old in Pamplona who was said to have been “passive” during the attack, per police records. The suspects, including an ex-cop and former soldier, joked about the incident and posted footage of it on WhatsApp. They were initially found guilty of the lesser crime of sexual abuse, until the Supreme Court overturned that decision and upgraded it to rape, earning the defendants 15 years behind bars instead of nine. (Read more Spain stories.)

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