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“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?” – Laurie Halse Anderson Halloween this year turned out to be the scariest one when a court in Barcelona gave its verdict to acquit five men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl because the girl was in an “unconscious state” and “the accused had not used violence or intimidation”. Let me first brief you with the case.
This gothic incident took place on October 29, 2016 (yes, three years ago!) in an abandoned factory in Manresa, during a drinking session. Out of five men, two were Spaniards, two Cubans and one Argentine. According to the prosecutors, the five men took “turns” and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious due to drugs and alcohol.
According to Spanish laws, the attacker must “use violence against or intimidate the victim” for the act to be labelled as rape (which is equivalent to sexual assault) and not as sexual abuse. Since none could be seen in the Manresa case, the court sentenced the five men under the charge of “sexual abuse” for 10 to 12 years rather than accusing them of “sexual assault” for 15 to 20 years. There was one more man who watched this whole incident and masturbated on the victim. The court said that there was no evidence to prove that the man had committed the offense of “failing to stop a crime”.
This whole incident has filled the world with rage and is a question mark on the lawmakers. If the poeple who get paid to protect us, deny us of justice and security, then what is the use of such people? What is the use of such laws? Even though the DNA of one of the defendants has been found in the girl’s innerwear, the court denies the act to be called as rape since the girl “didn’t feel any fear” and “didn’t fight back”! Have they gone nuts? How is a girl supposed to react when she is unconscious! Even if she consumed alcohol and drugs in her senses, no one gets a right to take an advantage of her. Rape is a rape. You cannot categorise it as a “lesser crime” just because the victim didn’t fight back! And if you do, resign from your seats because you don’t understand the meaning of dignity and respect of a woman, of a human-being.
The court awarded the victim 12,000 euros in damages, while stating that “the attack on the victim’s sexual integrity was extremely severe and especially denigrating, and what’s more, was against a minor in a situation of distress.” But what would a woman do with money when she cannot buy what she has already lost. ‘Rape’ probably seems a mere word to men (not all) nowadays. Maybe listening to this word every when and now might have made it lose its essence. It feels as if ‘rape’ is equivalent to ‘sex without consent’. Yes, it may be in your literal or legal terms, but morally speaking, it’s not. To have another human being pound upon you and shred away your respect, to have another human being take away your soul which you wanted to share with only one man in the world, to see yourself being reduced to nothing, to feel as if you’re losing your worth and to exist in that very act for every milisecond, and shout and scream till your throat cracks open with your voice echoing into nothingness cannot be comprised in a mere phrase “sex without consent”. It’s Rape. Rape of the body. Rape of the soul. Rape of the very humanity.
How can people not feel shameful while giving out such verdicts? How can people not feel losing their sensibility while “categorising” rape? How can people watch the other person in deathly pain and refusal, yet still cover her mouth and kill her? How can people rape? And how can other people support it? How? The victim of this case, who now is 17-years-old, also testified in the court. “In another flash, I am crying and someone with glasses is on top of me. There were lots of people (masturbating),” she told the court. “It hurt, I don’t remember anymore”, she added later.
Barcelona witnessed huge protests against the decision of the court. People came out in the streets and led out banners and posters that read “NO MEANS NO”. Personally I feel that the makers of these kind of laws and the people who still shamelessly execute them and don’t raise their voices against them, should all be hanged to death with the rapists. For supporting rape is a bigger crime than rape itself. It’s like that sixth man, just standing there and watching a horrific incident unfold.