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Five men cleared of rape because their unconscious 14-year-old victim did not resist

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If you weren’t yet convinced that the world has gone completely and utterly mad, five men have been acquitted of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl because their unconscious victim did not resist the assault.

A Barcelona court cleared the attackers on Thursday, saying the men did not use violence or intimidation and therefore the attack did not fit the legal definition of rape. The five men were then convicted of a lesser charge of sexual abuse.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the men, who were aged between 19 and 26 were accused of taking turns raping the young girl while others watched on and masturbated.

The victim, now 17-years-old, told the court in tears that she has flashes of what happened during the attack: “In another flash, I am crying and someone with glasses is on top of me. There were lots of people [masturbating]… It hurt, I don’t remember any more.”

The ruling has sparked outrage in Spain, with calls for the law to be changed to account for “involuntary paralysis” or “freezing” in response to sexual assaults. Angered citizens took to Twitter on Thursday with the hashtags #JusticiaPatriarcal [Patriarchal justice] and #NoEsAbusoEsViolación [It’s not abuse, it’s rape].

A review is currently underway to decide whether to base rape cases on a woman’s explicit consent for sex.

The review, which has had little progress since it was initiated, was prompted by a similar case in 2018 which saw five men handed a lesser charge of “sexual abuse” after gang-raping an 18-year-old woman during the running of the bulls in Pamplona. The Supreme Court overturned the ruling the same year and sentenced the men for rape.

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