A women’s rights organisation in Spain has lodged a complaint against a female judge who “humiliated” an alleged rape victim by asking whether she had tried closing her legs.
The magistrate reportedly interrupted the alleged victim’s account, asking: “Did you close your legs properly? Did you close off your female organs?”
The Clara Campoamor association said it had reported Judge Maria del Carmen Molina to the national judicial council (CGPJ), demanding that she be suspended or dismissed over the interrogation which took place in a special women’s violence court in February.
“This question is offensive, degrading and humiliating,” said Blanca Estrella, president of the Clara Campoamor association. “It shows a complete lack of professional rigour and ethical treatment of the victim.”
The woman, who is five months pregnant, reported her partner to police in Vitoria, northern Spain, for “repeatedly abusing her both sexually and physically”.
She told the association she was “shocked” by the aggressive line of questioning when she appeared in front of Judge Molina, seeking a restraining order against the accused man.
The magistrate “showed obvious disbelief of the testimony of the victim, questioned her without allowing her to answer, asking leading and offensive questions,” said Ms Estrella.
“Such questions are not only unnecessary to the investigation but are completely offensive and violate the dignity of the victim,” she said.
The CGPJ confirmed that the complaint had been received earlier this week. A spokesman said that the magistrate had been asked to give her version of events before a disciplinary committee decides whether to take action.
The Clara Campoamor association, named after a politician from the Spanish Republic who campaigned for women’s suffrage, said that other women had complained about Judge Molina’s attitude.
According to Spain’s judicial authorities, 1.1 million complaints of domestic violence against women have been reported since a 2005 law set up specific courts to make it easier for female victims to seek protection.