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Woman ‘too well dressed to be abuse victim’

Published on 21/01/2004

21 Janaury 2004

BARCELONA – A man accused of domestic violence has been released after a judge ruled Wednesday that his wife was too well dressed to be a victim of such abuse.

The Moroccan woman claimed she was married against her will at the age of 17 and taken to Spain in 2001.

She says she was locked up and beaten by her husband before she finally fled to a women’s shelter.

But Spanish women’s groups condemned the judge’s decision.

Judge Francisco Javier Pauli Collado, sitting in Barcelona, who is said to have a good reputation for dealing with cases of domestic violence, said he found the woman’s story “inconsistent with the fear and loss of all sense of initiative that characterise beaten wives”.

In his verdict, he added that the woman’s “physical appearance during the three-day hearing – carefully groomed, dressed differently each day, with rings, bracelets, fancy earrings and large glasses – … does not fit the profile of a woman who has suffered months of aggression”.

He said he was not suggesting that someone could not progress out of negative situations.

But he said such an ability did not usually come out of the supposedly continual aggression alleged in this case.

A medical report describing multiple bruising on the woman’s body was presented during the hearing but the court found there was “no evidence” to suggest that her husband was responsible.

Spanish women’s associations described the verdict as “abhorrent” and hoped action will be taken against the judge.

Consuelo Abril, from the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse, said that the judge’s decision perpetuated the false stereotype that an abused woman had to be poorly dressed and belong to a particular social background.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news