- Guy Hedgko
1 hour ago
A Spanish judge has shocked women’s rights groups by rejecting a case involving secretly filming women urinating on a street and posting videos on porn sites.
About 80 women and girls were filmed urinating on a side street due to the lack of public toilet facilities.
Hidden cameras were used to film women at the Maroxina festival in the northwest of the town of Cervo.
In many cases, the videos showed pictures of women’s faces and genitals.
The videos have been uploaded to porn sites, some of which require payment to watch the videos.
Once this was discovered, many of the affected women took legal action in 2020, demanding an investigation into the recordings, and their still unknown photographer, as this is a violation of their privacy.
But the judge, Pablo Muñoz Vázquez, ordered the case to be suspended, which prompted an association that supports women’s rights to appeal the decision.
But the same judge, recently upheld his first decision not to proceed with the case, on the grounds that the videos were filmed in a public place and therefore could not be considered criminal.
The affected women appealed again, this time to the Lugo Regional Court, in the hope that their case would be investigated.
“I panicked,” said Jennifer, one of the women photographed during the local festival in 2019.
Jennifer remembers when a friend told her that clips of her had been uploaded to a porn site, saying, “When I saw the video I was crying, I was really embarrassed, I didn’t really know what to do.”
Like many of the victims, Jennifer sought psychotherapy afterwards. But the latest court ruling added to her pain.
“It makes me very frustrated. Basically they are saying it’s okay for someone to register you in the street and then post it on a porn site and make money from it,” she added.
Ana Garcia, of the Women’s Rights Association, cautioned that this case could set a precedent, potentially giving those who record such videos a chance of impunity.
“Just because you’re in a public place, it doesn’t mean that being photographed in an intimate situation and publishing the recording is not a crime, because it is a fundamental right,” Garcia said.
The decision not to continue looking into the case sparked widespread protests and an online campaign.
The issue has also entered the political arena, with Equality Minister Irene Montero speaking on the issue.
It is noteworthy that gender rights have become the subject of intense debate between the left and the right in Spain in recent years, and this is not the first time that a court decision has provoked a backlash from feminist groups.
In 2018, a court in Pamplona sparked mass protests when it considered the assault of a young woman by five men a sexual violation rather than rape.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court overturned the sentence, found the men guilty of rape, and increased their prison sentences from nine to 15 years.