Men and women in Orihuela, Torrevieja, Rojales and Pilar demand stiffer sentences for the “wolf pack”

Dozens of men and women protested yesterday in Orihuela and Torrevieja, much like in many Spanish cities, against the court sentence against “La Manada” (the Wolf pack). Five men accused of gang raping an 18 year old woman at the San Fermin fiestas in Pamplona in 2016 were given 9 years in prison.

The defendants’ lawyers had even hired a private detective to follow the victim and take photos of her socialising as evidence she was not traumatised by the assult, some of which they had filmed.

The protesters were angry that the men were convicted of sexual abuse but not of rape. During the protests, held outside the Town Halls, they carried signs saying things like “It was not abuse, it was rape” and “Sister I believe you”.

In Orihuela about 30 people gathered outside the courthouse. “We feel angry because we were hoping they would get longer sentences. It seems that as women we take one step forward and two steps back,” said Gloria Monera of the Jacarilla Women’s Association Mujeres X.

According to the Navarra Provincial Court, the men were guilty of continuous sexual abuse with domination but not rape because the court did not believe it had been an attack using violence and intimidation.

Inma Sánchez of the collective Vega Baja Acoge said the ruling was “inadmissable” and just went to show the “violence that we women see ourselves being subjected to”. “We must say that a woman does not have to justify herself, no means no.”

Cambiemos Orihuela Councillor Javier Gracía also protested and said society needs to think about this verdict “because it does not seem like the judiciary has advanced much when it comes to the rights of victims of gender violence”.

In Rojales people also showed their “indignation, repulsion and disgust” at two protests, outside La Encantá Secondary Institute and outside the Town Hall. The manifesto read out at the school expressed their “deep disgust” at the sentence “which abandons the victim of such an awful aberration”. Teachers and pupils joined in with the Deputy Mayoress Inmaculada Chazarra and other Councillors. She said it was “intolerable” that the victim had been criminalised and not her attackers.

Mayor Antonio Pérez was at the Town Hall protest with other Councillors, Town Hall workers and citizens. A minute’s silence was held then they said that “what happened was rape and not sexual abuse”.

Pilar de la Horadada Town Hall also organised a protest against the verdict and the way that these situations of violence against women systematically humiliate and denigrate the victims.

The Mayor, Councillors, Town Hall workers and residents showed their repulsion at the verdict and support for the young woman. Councillor Mayte Valero said “the model of justice needs to make more progress on the welfare of women and people in general”.

Manada protest Rojales Town Hall