Hundreds of people protested outside a court of appeal in the Italian city of Ancona on Monday, March 11, after it emerged that two men were cleared of rape charges after judges ruled the alleged victim was “too masculine” and the men were not attracted to her.
Demonstrators gathered at the court of Ancona in central Italy shouted “for shame!” and accused the Italian justice system of misogyny and a “witch hunt”, according to video footage from Italian media.
The reasons behind the 2017 ruling were only discovered last Friday, when Italy’s highest appeal court ordered a retrial of the case, the Cronoche Ancona daily reports.
Protestors outside the court on Monday.
The men had initially been convicted in 2016 of raping the woman, then aged 22, in 2015, but the Ancona appeals court later threw out the charges.
The judges stated that said the woman’s story was not believable as she was “too masculine” and that the men didn’t find her attractive.
The woman had claimed one of the men raped her while the other stood guard after they had spiked her drink with drugs.
Doctors said her injuries were consistent with rape, and found traces of a date rape drug in her blood.
But the judges ruled it was “not possible to exclude the possibility that was” the alleged victim who “organised the ‘exhuberent’ evening,” according to the reports.
They said he man accused of rape “didn’t even like the girl, to the point of having stored her number in his phone under the nickname ‘Viking’, an allusion to an anything but feminine figure, rather a masculine one”.
“The photograph present in her file would appear to confirm this,” they added.
Protesters from Rebel Network, the Italian womens’ rights group that organised the protest, wrote on Twitter:
“Rape does not fulfill a desire for pleasure, but an abominable hatred and contempt for the victim. It does not depend on how feminine you are, but on the hatred inside the rapist.”