A CASE OF SEXUAL JUSTICE, SPANISH STYLE
the guy did was punch out at a man molesting a woman which was the most
natural thing to do!
Luis Garzon, the proprietor of a small catering business in Pontevedra,
north-western Spain, on entering his premises one autumn morning, heard
screams emanating from the inside of one of the offices. He dropped his
briefcase and rushed to where the sound was coming from only to find one
of his female employees being sexually molested by another male member
of his staff. Without giving it a second thought, he lashed out with a
hard right at the aggressors jaw knocking him down onto the floor.
Two front teeth were later found under a desk at the opposite end of the
Weeks later, Juan Luis was being sentenced to 9 months imprisonment for
the use of excessive force in averting an unconsumed criminal
Part of the actual phrasing of the sentence was as follows: it has
not been proven that a defensive act of such intensive excess was necessary.
The tribunal added insult to injury by suggesting that the aggressor had
not considered a more lenient method of avoiding the assault such as pulling
at his shirt or dissuading him through some form of verbal
Once again it is brought to light that attacks on women are minimized
in court, said Mabel Perez, member of a Galician womans movement
called Womens Voices. All the guy did was punch
out at a man molesting a woman which was the most natural thing to do!
she added. This type of sentence will only deter others from coming
to the aid of women in distress, said Dolores de Ozamiz, member
of Progressive Women, another feminist movement in Spain.
Both agreed that the social implications of the sentence could add to
further distrust of the Spanish judicial system where female aggression
It is a known fact that ever since the concern for womens rights
was brought to the fore in the 18th Century as laid out in Mary Wollstonecrafts
works, A vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in
England in 1792, the Feminist Movement has grown from strength to strength.
Suffragettes aside, the stereotype female during the early part of the
20th century has gradually been eroded. A more modern, equal, stern, and
almost dictatorial defender of every conceivable right available to her
sex has replaced her. Women in todays modern society work, play,
suffer and cry alongside their male equals in every walk of life. Nevertheless,
aggression towards women by the opposite sex is still a major problem.
Simone de Beauviour, in her book The second sex, suggested
that womens liberation would equally affect men and that life would
be rosy all round. However, it wasnt until Betty Friedan founded
the National Organization for Women in the USA that necessary reforms
in the law were eventually produced to make way for the equality of women
in modern society. Although western society males began, reluctantly,
to accept the changes, acts of violence against women continued at an
alarming rate. A great deal was related to the very reasons established
by the law in the equal rights of women. Many males could not fathom a
free woman, practising medicine, running a corporation, deciding on her
future maternity or even burning the candle at both ends. Violence was
bound to erupt.
On the other hand, women have also grown aggressive but in a different
manner. They have learned to live on their own, not depend on a male for
support or even fatherhood. Many have opted to ignore men altogether.
Artificial insemination can lead them to motherhood without even knowing,
let alone feeling the father of the future off spring. Has the pendulum
swung so far in the other direction, that males now feel threatened and
revert to vengeance sometimes in the form of violence? Have some males
interpreted this womens liberation as a passport to free sex with
whomever they please thus increasing the statistics of sexual assault,
hence the case before the judges in Spain?
But let us reflect for a minute. In this particular case, the Spanish
court was defending the sexual aggressor, the very perpetrator of so many
other types of assault on women and not the defender of female justice,
the kind of male, chivalrous and defensive, that would be accepted into
the realms of the Feminist Movement. As Dolores of Ozamiz stated after
the court hearing: although the court recognised a certain existence
of sexual aggression being committed, no case was opened against the supposed
aggressor. So where does sexual assault on women stand in the name
of the law if a bystander is not permitted defend the victim in distress?
The tragedy of this particular case is that it has opened up Pandoras
box as to what is considered an act of defence as opposed to an act of
aggression between male and female. Two drunks in a bar can beat each
others brains out and both would probably receive a fine and a caution,
yet a sober, honest, workingman is jailed because, in eyes of the law,
he started the brawl in the first place.
Juan Luis is taking his case to the Supreme Court of Spain. He insists
- feminists take note - that he would not hesitate to come to his employees
defence again should she be attacked. It would not be right to see
someone being attacked and to just turn a blind eye, he added. The
whole case, however, has drained his bank balance and he is now concerned
about his future financial situation. So much for justice.
© James Skinner. 2001. email:
James Skinner is our Spanish Correspondent and has just completed a screenplay
on the Falklands conflict.
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