Parliament denounces verdict of ‘La Manada’ case as ‘disgraceful’
Declaration made on Friday vows to defend the “integrity” of women
After the controversy of the verdict of ‘La Manada’ or ‘Wolf Pack’ case, in which five men were acquitted of gang-raping an 18-year-old girl, and were instead charged with sexual abuse, the Catalan parliament has vowed to defend “the integrity of women.” In a declaration made on Friday, the Pamplona court ruling was condemned as “disgraceful,” as the ongoing problem of gender violence was highlighted.
“A patriarchal system”
“The sentence reinforces the belief that women are always complicit and, deep down, responsible for the violence they suffer,” the statement denouncing sexist violence reads. “The Parliament of Catalonia denounces that these facts are part of a patriarchal system.”
The parliament asserted that the verdict does not fit with the “seriousness” of the situation that the “rape of an 18-year-old girl by five men aged between 24 and 27 implies.”
Indeed, the sentence was denounced as “absolutely shameful,” resulting in the further “stigmatization of women and legitimizing of violence against them.”
It expressed its “commitment to the feminist struggle to change these structures still present in our society which perpetuate inequality and lack of respect for women in the 21st century.”
Concluding the declaration, the parliament affirmed the necessity for the promotion of an in-depth programme about sexist and gender violence directed at “professionals in the judicial field.”
Thousands of people took to the streets in Catalonia, and throughout Spain as a whole, to denounce the court’s verdict. Shockwaves were even felt on a European level, with the EU commissioner for Justice. Vera Jourová said she expects the Spanish judiciary to make a “quick and fair” decision following an appeal by the prosecutor in Navarrer in order for the victim to “forget the [case] if that’s even possible.”
‘The Wolf Pack’
The case is known as ‘La Manada’ (Spanish for The Pack), following the name of the WhatsApp group used by the accused to share the video of the attack with their friends. The men were found innocent of violating the woman’s right to privacy.
In the 96 seconds video, the woman is seen immobile and with her eyes closed. The defense team claimed that her silence indicates consent. They also claimed that she could have fought back by “biting their penises.” The prosecution stressed that the woman had been immobilized by force and terror.
A private detective was hired by the defense team to follow the woman over the course of several days, and took pictures of her smiling with her friends. The photos, presented as evidence that she had not suffered any lasting trauma, were accepted by the judge.
The prosecutor pressed for 22 years and 10 months in prison, the accusers required jail sentences of 24 years and 9 months, and the regional government of Navarra and the city council got into the case and asked for 25 years and 9 months jail-sentences.
The court ruled that the five men are due to compensate the woman with €50,000, €10,000 each.