Protesters gathered outside an appeals court in Ancona, Italy, after a 2017 ruling was unsealed, which revealed that two men were cleared of rape charges because the judges thought the victim was “too masculine” to be desirable.
Women’s groups organized a rally of some 200 people who were outraged by the judges’ belief that rapists wouldn’t pursue someone because they were too masculine.
The ruling was unsealed after being annulled by the Supreme Court of Sassation, the highest court in Italy, which ordered a retrial and overturned the two men’s previous acquittal, Italian wire service Ansa reports.
Both men, whose names were not identified, were originally convicted in 2016 of raping the Peruvian-born woman, according to The Guardian. The victim’s name was also not made public under Italian law, however the court did say she was 22 at the time of the alleged 2015 attack.
Cinzia Molinaro, the woman’s lawyer, told The Guardian that the defendants “spiked the woman’s drink with drugs after the group went to a bar following an evening class,” adding that “Doctors said her injuries were consistent with rape and that there was a high level of benzodiazepines in her blood.”
During their 2017 appeal, the two men were acquitted by three female judges who wrote in their reasoning document that the woman’s story was not credible because she looked like a man and therefore was not appealing enough to have been raped or pursued sexually.
Molinaro told The Guardian, “It was disgusting to read; the judges expressed various reasons for deciding to acquit them, but one was because the [defendants] said they didn’t even like her, because she was ugly. They also wrote that a photograph [of the woman] reflected this.”
Molinaro said the judges’ reasoning for the shocking decision was what caused them to refer the case to Italy’s Supreme Court.
The case now moves to an appeals court in Perugia, Italy, The Guardian reports.
It is unclear whether the woman will be present for the retrial, as her lawyer says she moved back to Peru after being cast out by the Ancona community for reporting the incident to police.