Protesters in Ancona, Italy after the revelation was made. (Image: Twitter/Cisl Marche)Protesters in Ancona, Italy after the revelation was made. (Image: Twitter/Cisl Marche)

Italy: Three women judges cleared two men of rape charges because victim was ‘unattractive’

In Ancona, a picturesque seaside town in Italy, some 200 women right’s defenders gathered after a revelation over a 2015 rape case was made.

Here’s a timeline to understand the story:

2015:  A woman of Peruvian origin claimed two men (known acquaintances) had raped her. A court case was registered against the two. The identity of the victim was protected, and as per her lawyer, the two alleged rapists had spiked the woman’s drink with drugs. Doctors said her injuries were consistent with rape and that there was a high level of benzodiazepines in her blood.

2016: The court found them guilty and sentenced them to serve a jail sentence.

2017: An appeals court in Ancona acquitted the two and cleared them of the rape charges.

2019: On Friday, on a day coinciding with International Women’s Day, after the country’s highest court of appeal ordered a retrial, the reasons for the acquittal were made public.

According to the report, the panel of three judges (all women) heard the defendants say “they didn’t even like the girl and that she was unattractive”. They defendants claimed the victim’s photograph present in the file would corroborate their claim. In a further bid to strengthen their case, the defendants said they had stored their name as ‘Viking’, an apparent reference to a ‘masculine’ figure.

The judges’ reasoning document included a passage that said the woman’s story was not credible enough as she resembled a man and was therefore unappealing. The report also suggested that it was possible the alleged victim organised the ‘exuberant’ evening.

The victim has sinced moved back to Peru after being ostrazised by the community in Ancona.

The case will be reheard from scratch by a court in Perugia at at date yet to be determined.

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