Feminism Around the World: Affluent Young Man Acquitted of Sexual Assault Because There Was No “Lascivious Intent”
Welcome to Feminism Around the World, a weekly feature here at TMS where we focus on women’s lives and feminist concerns around the world by applauding successes, reporting injustices, and amplifying the conversation around solutions to gender-based inequality. Because “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” – Teresa
MEXICO: Affluent Young Mexican Man Acquitted of Sexual Assault Because Certain Types of Assault Apparently Don’t Count (Especially If You’re a Rich Dude)?
A 17-year-old-girl in the affluent state of Veracruz, Mexico was attending a New Year’s party with friends from her exclusive Catholic high school on the first day of 2015. As she was preparing to leave, 19-year-old Diego Cruz and three of his friends forced her into a car and allegedly sexually assaulted her. According to The L.A. Times, “She said she was assaulted in the car by Cruz and Jorge Coahuila, accusing them of reaching under her shirt and shorts. She said she was later raped by Enrique Capitaine Marin at his home in an affluent neighborhood a few blocks from the Gulf of Mexico.”
These guys are apparently all the wealthy sons of politicians or prominent businessmen, and were all adults. The story hit national news in Mexico, earning the quartet the media nickname “Los Porkys” (yes, in reference to the 80s movie. Ugh), after the girl’s father recorded two videos after the incident in which Cruz and the other men appear to confess to sexually assaulting his daughter, then made the videos public.
Los Porkys then released a statement saying that they’d been coerced into an apology, and were actually innocent. M’kay.
So, at long last, what happened to Diego Cruz? Well, after fleeing to Spain last year (living there under an assumed name) for six months, only to be extradited back to Mexico, Judge Anuar Gonzalez Hemadi ruled earlier this week that despite touching the girl without her consent, what Cruz did was ultimately “incidental rubbing” that was performed without “lascivious intent.” So, according to this yahoo, probing someone’s genitals without their consent isn’t sexual assault if you don’t intend it to be sexual.
Furthermore, as reported in The Guardian, “González also found that although the victim, who was 17 at the time, was forced into the car of one of her alleged attackers, she was never ‘helpless.'” Yeeeah, because one unarmed 17-year-old girl at a party totally isn’t helpless in the face of four adult men trying to get her into a car.
For now, however, Cruz is still being held. Under Mexican law, the acquittal must be reviewed by a circuit court judge before he is freed. As for Capitaine Marin, he “was detained in March 2016, and is awaiting a ruling in his case. Coahuila is at large. A fourth man was present during the alleged assault but was not accused of taking part.”
Needless to say, people in Mexico are furious, saying that this is yet another example of how the wealthy get preferential treatment. Not only that, but there’s been an increase in feminist protest and activism over the past couple of years, precisely because of things like this. The girl’s furious father warned of the dangerous precedent being set in a radio interview, saying, “Imagine, any adult can touch any person, of whatever age, and go free by saying it was not lascivious, and that there was no intent to have sex.”
NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE
COLOMBIA: “Return From the Jungle (Photo Essay): Out of Hiding, Female Rebels in Colombia Face Uneasy Transition to Civilian Life” (The Intercept, 3/25/17)
IRELAND: “‘Backlash’ against ruling allowing hijab ban in workplace” (Irish Independent, 3/20/17)
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