Three female judges in an appeals court in Italy overturned a 2015 rape conviction in part because the victim in question was deemed too ugly to have been raped. The alleged victim, then 20 years old, was not found to be a credible rape victim because she was too unattractive and “masculine,” according to the three female judges. The Daily Mail reports:
Two Peruvian men were initially convicted of the 2015 rape of a Peruvian woman in Ancona, but the Italian appeals court overturned the verdict and absolved them, finding that she was not a credible witness. In part of the ruling, the court noted that the suspects had found her unattractive and too "masculine" to be a credible rape victim.
The conviction was overturned by an all-female panel in 2017 despite medics reportedly claiming the woman’s injuries were consistent with rape. The details concerning the reasoning behind the overturned conviction only became public earlier this month, however, according to The Daily Mail. “The Court of Cassation said Wednesday its own reasons for ordering the retrial will be issued next month,” noted the outlet.
"It's a sentence that has shocked us, I was astonished when reading the motivation," the woman’s lawyer, Cinzia Molinaro, told CNN.
The lawyer said the judges who overturned the conviction claimed his client was not credible because the men she accused "didn't find her attractive, she was too masculine.”
Molinaro also said that the female judges further supported their ruling by noting that one of the accused men “saved the woman's number in his phone as ‘Viking,’ and stated that the ‘photograph present in her file would appear to confirm this,’” CNN reports.
The judges also questioned if the woman possibly "organized the 'exuberant' evening" herself.
Molinaro said his client had to have “14 stitches in her vagina” the day following the alleged attack.
"She had confused memories of what exactly happened during the night because she was drugged," Molinaro added.
Doctors, according to the lawyer, confirmed traces of the “date rape” drug in her blood.
Unsurprisingly, the new information has sparked protests within the country and Italy’s Justice Ministry has ordered a preliminary inquiry into the court.
A flashmob of angry protesters shouting “Shame!” reportedly erupted outside the Ancona court. According to The Mirror, protesters carried "Stop justifying male violence on women” signs.
"Rape does not satisfy a desire for pleasure, but is an abominable hatred and contempt for the victim,” feminist group Rebel Network’s Luisa Rizzitelli said of the case.
"It does not depend on how feminine you are,” she added.
According to The Daily Mail, "The Justice Ministry said it was conducting the ‘necessary preliminary investigations’ into the appeals verdict. Molinaro said the ministry can send investigators to a court to check if there were any problems or omissions in the sentence, even when the case is still under appeal.”