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There are laws that punish this type of crime, but impunity seems to win
In the early hours of January 1, a minor of 14 years was allegedly raped by 5 young men aged 21 and 23 in Argentina. This case, although not yet fully clarified, is an opportunity for the State to enforce the laws that punish sexual crimes, especially in minors.
Leer en español: ¡No más impunidad en casos de abuso sexual!
The minor, whose identity has not been made public, was receiving the New Year with her family in Miramar, a province of Buenos Aires, in a camping area. After midnight, she disappeared and after her family looked for her, she was found in another place surrounded by 5 men.
The father called the police and the five young men were arrested while the investigation was being carried out. For her part, the minor was sent to the hospital where she received medical and psychological assistance.
According to El País of Uruguay, from the medical review, it was determined that the child was raped more than once. In addition, she was under the influence of alcohol, although it is unknown whether she ingested the drinks under the attackers's will.
The prosecutor in charge, Florencia Salas, has determined that for the investigation she needs clothing from both the victim and the perpetrators, and other items that were in the tent. Also, she needs the testimonies of all those involved, as well as people who were staying at the campsite.
Two of the defendants already admitted to having had sexual intercourse with the minor, although they affirm that it was agreed upon. This is where the debate about abuse comes from, since the only evidence that can be found is those mentioned above. Meanwhile, the prosecutor has determined the crime as "aggravated sexual abuse with carnal access."
Regulation against sexual abuse in Argentina
According to Easy Law, of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, "sexual abuse is a violent sexual assault that threatens the sexual freedom of the person and their right to choose the sexual activity they want to perform. If it is committed against a minor, it also affects his personal development in his sexuality. "
In addition, it also affirms that the sexual abuse of minors under 13, even if it is consensual, is classified as abuse. Considering the victim is 14 years, we would have to wait to see what it is decided in the trial.
On the other hand, the crime classified as "aggravated sexual abuse with carnal access", means that "this crime is what we used to call rape. It is independent of the sex of the author and the victim. The carnal access can be through anal, vaginal or oral (...)". Also, there may be other aggravating circumstances in this case. For example, by the number of actors, being 5 and she only one, and by the age and the state of the victim, to be 14 years old and to be in a state of intoxication.
In addition, on October 2018, Law 27,455 was approved, which defines child sexual abuse as a crime of public authority. This means that "the State must investigate ex officio any case of sexual abuse against children and adolescents," according to the Federation of Psychologists of the Republic of Argentina. Previously, there was the need for the victim's guardian to file a complaint, which in many cases hindered the investigation.
Other similar cases
Argentina has been a pioneer in the fight against sexual abuse, with initiatives like #MeToo, for example.
A case of great commotion in the same country was the death of Lucía Perez, who was raped by two men and died in the house of one of them. This happened in 2016 in Mar del Plata and the two men were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Another event of great commotion worldwide, and very similar to this, was the famous case of 'La Manada', in Spain. This case, occurred in 2016 during the San Fermín festivities in Pamplona, where 5 men abused an 18-year-old girl.
The controversy, in addition to the commotion in social media because of the act, occurred around the decision of the judges, who, for many, were soft in the decision. One of the three magistrates in charge of the case was in favor of the acquittal of the 5 men, arguing that there was no abuse but consensual relations.
Currently, La Manada is on provisional release since no agreements have been reached with the conviction. However, this case, and its judicial handling, have created great commotion in Spain and in the world, because people demand justice and that these cases do not remain in impunity.
Argentina has a great responsibility to enforce the aforementioned laws, so that this is not just another case of impunity as in the case of Lucía Perez or 'La Manada'. However, one should still wait for the collection of evidence and testimonies.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
Translated from "¡No más impunidad en casos de abuso sexual!"