Durante el juicio contra La Manada, que tuvo lugar a finales del 2017, decidimos crear el comunicado que veis a continuación para difundir la desdeñable historia de esta violación en grupo en Reino Unido. Hoy, en abril de 2018, seguimos sin conocer el veredicto de este caso.
Spain, 2016: five men from Seville (Andalusia) visited the traditional San Fermín festivity in Pamplona, Navarra. So far so good. However, the intentions of their visit were not as innocent as people may think at first glance. These men, members of a group self-labelled as “La Manada” (Spanish for “a pack of wolves”), usually counted among their hobbies raping, and battering children for fun:
“Fucking a Russian b**** and beating a British kid, 2-0 victory away.”
We are not making this up as we speak; these pieces of information come from snippets of their WhatsApp conversations that have been filtered to the press. This WhatsApp group is formed by 21 members, who applauded and joked about the “alleged” behaviours of the five men of our story:
“Fucking one between the five of us.”
“Fucking incredible trip.”
“There’s a video.”
They were arrested the next morning, after the 18-year-old girl reported the five men to the police accusing them of rape. She recounted how they took her to a hallway and repetitively penetrated her without her consent as well as forcing her to perform fellatio. They filmed her while doing so (up to seven videos and numerous photographs) and also took away her phone.
The trial took place while loud demonstrations occurred opposite the court everyday. This case is known all over Spain and it has shocked our society’s foundations from the inside. However, we encounter daily multiple stories of feminicide, domestic violence, abuse, work inequality, etc. So what makes this so significant?
In our opinion, this stands out for several reasons. First, it is worth saying that there is a current feminist surge in the country, serving as a breeding ground for so much despair and rage. Women are angry; we cannot deal with this systematic violence anymore. After hearing about the San Fermín story, the response was a campaign called Yo sí te creo (I believe you), to show support to the victim.
Also, the fact that there were five men, blatantly displaying misogynistic behaviour on their personal social media, known for other rape incident in the past and involved in a sort of alpha male society (“The power of the wolf lies in the pack” was one of the men´s tattoos) gives the case a bit of a cinematographic twist. However, it makes us shiver to recognise these “brotherhood” traits in certain male environments, e.g. universities, army, police, etc. Days later another scandal broke out about conversations from a WhatsApp group formed by 200 policemen; they were throwing insults and threats to the current Madrid mayor and another female journalist, again normalising misogynistic, fascist and violent attitudes.
Another reason is the way legal proceedings have developed. The judge, in order to preserve the rights of the accused, had to accept a detective’s report where the victim was followed after the events. It showed how she was trying to carry on with her normal activities and lead a “normal” life. This was used by the defence to argue that she was not traumatised by the alleged rape and therefore invalidating her testimony. Eventually, this evidence has been nullified and not taken into consideration. However, it is incredibly backwards and sexist that any lawyer could still consider such a report as legitimate evidence to prove anything. On top of this, the defence alleged that the victim’s attitude during the trial was defiant, her posture relaxed and her look cheerful. What else can we comment on this?
On the other hand, it is quite remarkable that the WhatsApp conversations from “La Manada” have not been accepted. They allege they are private and likely to be forged; nonetheless, there is not a specific regulation about this sort of evidence that prevents any judge from accepting it. The conversation must be certified by a notary, in order to confirm its authenticity. On the contrary, an Instagram picture uploaded by the victim has been accepted as evidence, where she is seen having a drink at a party. In this case it is not known whether the judge will take this into consideration for his verdict.
The assumption is generally that the victim is lying; she needs to fight for her right to be believed. Every single aspect of her conduct or appearance has constituted a valid argument for the defence (or the press) and is under examination, whereas the alleged perpetrators are depicted in another light, one that is much more permissive and less judgmental.
We are now waiting to hear the verdict for this case, while in the meantime seven more women have been killed by men in Spain, just in December (source: www.feminicidio.net). Another case that has been constantly in the media was that of Diana Quer´s disappearance (18 years old). Her body was found in a well after she had been missing for a year and half. The main suspect confessed only when he was arrested for trying to kidnap another woman. Andrea Carballo, 20 years old, had reported her partner due to domestic violence and he was the subject of a restraining order. After she broke up with him, he violated that order and dragged her to his car, to finally crash it against a petrol station, killing them both. Another handful of rape cases have been made public, in some cases involving underage women. And unfortunately, we could keep going…
All in all, this past year has clearly not been any better in terms of violence against women in Spain. Therefore, the 15M London Women’s Assembly has decided to write this statement in order to inform about this constant dripping of cases where women are raped, mistreated or killed. We have mainly described the case of “La Manada” to create awareness in the United Kingdom about this outrageous case, so it is known all over the country and beyond. Please, if you can, help us to spread this news and share this text around the UK.
La mayoría de los casos mediáticos de violencia contras las mujeres han sido decididos en unos 10-12 días. ¿Cuánto más habrá de esperar la víctima? ¿Cuánto más tendremos que esperar las mujeres para que el gobierno tome responsabilidades?