Judges Acquit Accused Rapist, Say Victim’s Red Underwear Suggests She Wanted Sex

Judges Acquit Accused Rapist, Say Victim’s Red Underwear Suggests She Wanted Sex

Three judges in Peru said the woman was 'prepared or willing to have sexual relations with the accused,' citing her red underwear.'

Image Source: Getty Images/Maskot (Representative)

A Peruvian court's declaration that a woman, who wore red underwear to a party, could not have been raped as her undergarment suggested she intended to have sexual intercourse has sent shockwaves through the country. The controversial ruling in the rape was made at the South Zone Transitory Supraprovincial Collegiate Criminal Court where judges said that the complainant's choice of lacy red knickers was to blame in this situation as it had given the impression the victim was "prepared or willing" have sex with the defendant. Moreover, they expressed that the girl was not as reserved and shy as she had claimed to be citing her choice of underwear as evidence and excusing the defendant. 


Although the identities of the people involved in this case were not made public, it was revealed that the accused is a 22-year-old man while the victim is a 20-year-old woman, reports Daily Mail. The case was first reported in late January last year, according to local media outlets that say the troubling incident happened after the woman had fallen unconscious at a party. Apparently, she had accompanied the accused there who told her they would just go and collect some official documents. The next thing the 20-year-old knows is waking up naked in the bed of the accused in the morning.


Although she says the accused raped her, the man maintained that the allegations against him were nothing but an act of "revenge" by the victim. As the case ensued, Judges Ronald Anayhuaman Andia, Diana Jurado Espino, and Lucy Castro Chacaltana argued that the woman had misrepresented herself. If that wasn't enough, they made a bizarre claim that women wear red underwear only when they intend on having sex. "The supposed personality represented by her [the victim] (shy) does not relate to the undergarment she used on the day of the incident as this type of women's underwear is normally used on special occasions leading to moments of intimacy, which gives the impression that the woman prepared or willing to have sexual relations with the accused," they said, according to Daily Mail. Furthermore, the judges claimed that there were a few "omissions" in the complainant's testimonies.


After the decision, which was made on October 29, became public it immediately sparked intense outrage in Peri as women took to the streets in protest. Some of them were seen wearing red underwear around their legs, objecting to the offensive ruling, while others held up messages which read: "Listen up, judges. Don't use my underwear to justify rape." They chanted the song 'A Rapist in Your Path' which included lyrics like "The fault was not mine, nor where I was, nor what I was wearing." It also makes explicit reference to how the prevalent legal system protects the accused rapists, saying, "The patriarchy is a judge that judges us for being born." The lines "The rapist is you! The rapist is you!" is repeated frequently with the intention of counterbalancing the victim-blaming strategies typically used in rape cases and allegations. 


Even Peru's Public Ministry condemned the decision and issued a statement on October 30 revealing that a request had been made by it to nullify the ruling and that a new trial takes place in a different court. On Monday, the Control Office of Judiciary (OCMA) launched an investigation into the suspected misconduct by the judges. It will decide if a disciplinary investigation needs to be undertaken or not. Peru's Ministry of Women declared that it "profoundly rejected" the argument of the court that was tainted with stereotypes and indulged in revictimizing the complainant. "The eradication and punishment of violence against women can only be possible with an impartial Judicial Power that is aware of its fundamental role in order to eradicate rape and discrimination based on gender," it said according to Daily Mail. To counter the outrage following the ruling, Ica's Human Rights Coordinator invited many official bodies from the city's legal system to undergo an extensive course on gender bias.

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