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  • Citizens of Italy attend a march during World Women's Day, in Turin, March 8, 2017.

    Citizens of Italy attend a march during World Women's Day, in Turin, March 8, 2017. | Photo: EFE

Published 12 March 2019

About 200 people protested outside a court of appeal in the Italian city of Ancona after two men were cleared of rape charges in part because the victim looked “too masculine."
 

Two men, who were found guilty of rape in 2016, were cleared of the charges by an appeal court in the Italian city of Ancona because the victim was "not credible," a decision that triggered a strong reaction from different organizations concerned with the defense of the rights of women who protested Monday in front of the court shortly after the news became public.

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The judges – who were all females – drew their conclusions from a photo of the woman and because the defendants said they were not attracted to her, with one registering under the name of "Viking," reported the British newspaper The Guardian. 

According to the victim, the men raped her after they added drugs to her drink. Doctors indicated that her injuries were consistent with rape and that there were traces of drugs in the blood victim.

Luisa Rizzitelli, a spokesperson for Rebel Network, the women’s group that organized the Ancona protest, attacked the judges' decision as "medieval".

“The worst thing is the cultural message that came from three female judges who acquitted these two men because they decided that it was improbable that they would want to rape someone who looked masculine,” added Rizzitelli.

This decision is far from unique in Italy. Last February, the court of appeal of Turin acquited a man accused of raping a woman. Judges said the woman hadn't shouted loudly enough.

This news comes just months after the massive outrage over the "Wolf Pack" case in Spain which saw five men convicted over sex abuse charges instead of the more serious charge of rape after gangraping an 18-year-old woman. The judges argued that the victim had failed to prove that there was "intimidation" and threats by her attackers, an argument that was heavily criticized by women's rights movements who called for a review of the country's sexual violence laws. 

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