GENDER VIOLENCE

Supreme Court judge blames violence against women on “evil”

Antonio Salas started a Twitter war by denying that such attacks are an educational problem

Spanish Supreme Court judge Antonio Salas has blamed “evil” for violence against women, arguing on Twitter on New Year’s Day: “if women had the same physique as men… this would not happen.” The judge, who believes that violence against women is a “very serious problem in our society” and one that is “very difficult to solve,” was reacting to Spain’s first murder of a woman by a man of the year.

A march in Spain protesting violence against women.
A march in Spain protesting violence against women.Samuel Sánchez

On January 1, a woman’s life was taken by her ex-boyfriend in the Madrid region.

Salas’ comments have triggered a Twitter storm in Spain, sparking debate about the causes of violence against women. When journalist Elisa Beni expressed her astonishment on Twitter at the judge’s comments, Salas stuck to his guns.

Sensitivity as a measure, hasn’t served for much. Men who are abusive don’t care

Judge Antonio Salas

“Do you really think that if women were stronger than men, they would still get abused?”

Teresa Franco, a delegate for women's affairs with the Spanish association of military personnel AUME, argued that men do not kill women because they are “wicked (biologically)” but “because they have learned that women belong to them.”

Salas replied: “So, those who abuse and kill do so because of an educational problem, not because they are intrinsically bad. I don’t believe that’s how it is.”

“Didn’t abusers get the same education as people who don’t abuse women?” he added.

Besides attributing violence against women to “innate evil” and the greater strength of men, he also argued that it would be wrong to explain this phenomenon with a one-size-fits-all formula.

In 2016, 44 women were murdered by their partners or former partners in Spain. On top of that, Spanish judges received an average 426 complaints a day regarding violence against women from July to September 2015.

The evil in human nature doesn't have a solution. You see it every day in the news. If anyone has a viable solution, say it already!!!

During the Twitter debate, Salas also brought up partner abuse in homosexual couples: “There’s a lot of it, but it doesn’t get studied.”

AUME delegate Franco replied, saying that abuse in homosexual relationships is being studied and told the judge that he needs “gender training.”

“There is very little respect for other peoples’ opinions,” Salas replied. “I don’t think gender training is necessary. I’ve always respected women and men equally. But I prefer the former. Always have.”

Inés Herreros, a prosecutor who specializes in violence against women and is a member of the Progressive Union of Prosecutors, also joined in the debate. She tweeted, “to deny that the cause of violence against women is just because they are women supposes a 12 year and five-day delay,” referring to when Spain introduced legislation aimed at cracking down on gender-specific violence.

Responding to Herreros, Salas asked: “What advances have been made in the last 12 years and five days, in terms of statistics?”

Do you really think that if women were stronger than men, they would still get abused? Journalist Elisa Beni

Herreros pointed to increased “awareness” and that the state is collecting “statistics we didn’t have before.”

“Raised awareness, as a measure, I think, hasn’t served for much. Men who are abusive don’t care,” replied the judge, adding that laws related to violence against women “are more political than judicial.”

He also questioned the need for judges and lawyers to take gender sensitivity training.

Herreros replied: “The best thing is when we learn directly from the experiences of women, combined with studies.”

“This is all well and good, but you can’t consider a female weightlifting champion to be inferior to her boyfriend. With respect,” countered Salas.

English version: Alyssa McMurtry.

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