NATIONWIDE mass protests are being held this evening (Friday) in more than 270 towns and cities across Spain to declare a “feminist emergency” after a series of high-profile rape cases and lack of political response to the deaths of several women from sexual and domestic violence.
A summer in which 19 women were murdered by current or former partners. The worst figures in more than a decade.
According to data collected by the Spanish government, 1,017 women have been killed by domestic violence since 2003, with 42 murders this year so far.
The protests have been organised by Emergencia Feminista (Feminist Emergency), who have invited people to take to the streets today Friday 20, stating:
“We can’t let another school or parliamentary term begin as if nothing has happened. To do so would be to tolerate the intolerable … This is an emergency.”
The demonstrations come three years after the notorious gang-rape of a woman at the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona and amid the trial of seven men accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in Catalonia.
Both of these cases drew attention to Spain’s sexual offences legislation, which recognises an assault as rape only when physical force, threats or coercion are involved.
At the end of the wolf pack trial in April 2018 the men were charged with continuous sexual abuse, as the crime lacked violence or intimidation and were sentenced to just nine years in prison. In June this year the Supreme Court in Madrid overturned the lower court’s verdict, raising their sentences to 15 years.
The current trial of the men guilty of raping the 14-year-old from Catalonia have also had their charges upgraded from sexual abuse to rape after objection from women’s rights activists.
Protesters have been calling for changes in Spanish legislation to distinguish between rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse.
The latest victim to die from domestic violence was Adaliz Villagra, 31, who was stabbed by her former partner in Madrid on Tuesday, in front of her two children, aged eight and 10.