The acquittal in Pamplona is not an isolated case. Women are taking to the streets and demanding justice, reports Steph Pike
Women in Spain erupted in anger yesterday following the acquittal of five men in Pamplona on charges of rape. The group of men who labelled themselves ‘The Wolf Pack’, and which includes police officers, raped a young woman 2 years ago. This violent attack on a woman and the way she was treated in the subsequent trial has been strongly condemned, with widespread anger at the verdict, which convicted the men of the lesser charge of assault and acquitted them of rape.
Irene Quintana Soutelo, a Spanish woman living in London, said
it is ridiculous that a court case against a violation has become a court case against the victim. It feels as if it was a backlash from a patriarchal state institution. Women and men in Spain have finally risen up against sexism and gender violence.
Within hours of the verdict, protests took place across Spain with hundreds of thousands of women taking to the streets to protest the verdict and demand justice for women and an end to male violence against women. In Cadiz, hundreds of women met at the Foundation for Women.
We joined this angry and lively demo protest with our Spanish sisters. After some passionate speeches, the demo took to the streets with chants including “ Sister, we believe you” echoing off the walls of the narrow alleys. Many people joined the demo and by the time it arrived at the Plaza San Antonio it was nearly 1500 strong.
After an hour the demo arrived back at the Foundation for Women and then headed off to one of Cadiz’s main roads where a sit-down protest blocked the traffic for half an hour. The Police arrived but women protesters shouted angrily in their faces and they backed off and diverted traffic away from the demo. After another 15 minutes, the protesters voted to leave the road and marched back to continue the protest at the Foundation for Women. We spoke to four young Spanish women who told us that they were angry at the verdict and the ‘shit’ system and were demonstrating to try and change the way the system treats women.
The anger and passion of the demo came as no surprise after 8 million Spanish women demonstrated on International Women’s Day in March. It was fantastic to march and protest in solidarity with Spanish women. For this is an issue for all women.
This has echoes of the recent case in Ireland where two rugby players were acquitted of raping a woman in similar circumstances. As in Spain, women in Ireland protested in their thousands. That these cases are so common is an outrage. Across the world, women are raped, abused and murdered and rarely receive justice.
It is not just justice for women that we demand, but a total end to violence against women. Across the world, from Spain to India, from England to Columbia, from Ireland to the USA, women are protesting and taking to the streets to demand justice and to demand liberation.
Solidarity with the women of Spain! Solidarity with the women of the world!
Yo la creo! I believe her!
We believe you, Sister Protest: Cadiz, Spain, 26th of April 2018. Filmed and edited by Clare Solomon
Steph Pike a is a revolutionary socialist, feminist and People's Assembly activist. She is also a published poet. Her poetry collection 'Petroleuse' is published by Flapjack Press.