Socialists call for investigation into rape joke made by Popular Party official

José Manuel Castelao said that laws and women were "there to be violated"

The Socialist Party wants the attorney general to investigate whether a Popular Party (PP) official’s derogatory remarks against women constitute a crime.

José Manuel Castelao, who had just been appointed president of the Citizens Abroad Council, an advisory body for expatriates, left colleagues aghast on Tuesday when he said at a work meeting that “laws are like women, they are there to be violado,” a Spanish word meaning both “broken” and “raped.” His comment referred to a missing vote that was required to formalize the minutes of the meeting. “No problem. You have nine votes? Put down 10.”

“We ask the attorney’s office to open an investigation to clear up whether a crime exists,” said Purificación Causapié, the Socialist secretary for equal rights. “We feel that [these statements] are an invitation to discrimination and violence against women, and that they could constitute a crime.”

“This man has shown a clear disrespect not just for women, but also for the law. We cannot tolerate that a person with public responsibilities makes these statements,” added Causapié.

Castelao, a 71-year-old lawyer from Galicia, resigned on Friday following the public outcry over his words, although he denied any connection with this case, citing instead personal reasons. Before that, he had already apologized to the people who heard his remark, mostly women.

“You have to wonder what these right-wing people have inside their heads, when they have a drink and come up with these foolish remarks,” said Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.