In Friday’s Dispatch, we’re looking at the news of protests in Spain after five men were cleared of raping a teenager. Plus: the African-American woman on a mission to make travel history, and why people are calling for changes to abortion rules in Britain.
Protests erupt in Spain after men are cleared of gang-raping teenager
There have been mass protests across Spain after a court cleared five men of raping an 18-year-old woman.
The men recorded videos of the attack, which took place after the famous running of the bulls festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, in 2016. In a sinister echo of the rugby rape case that rocked Ireland recently, the men later joked about the attack on a WhatsApp group, referring to themselves as “la manada” (the wolf pack).
However, the court in Navarra found the men guilty of sexual abuse, which is considered a lesser crime than rape in Spain. Each defendant was jailed for nine years and ordered to pay the victim €10,000 (£8,800), a lighter punishment than that which had been sought by the prosecution. One of the three judges had argued that the men should be acquitted of all charges except the theft of the victim’s phone.
Thousands of women and men marched through the streets in cities across Spain, including Seville and Barcelona, after the verdict was announced. In Madrid, protesters walked to Spain’s Justice Ministry chanting “Shame! Shame!” and “‘No’ means no”.
Spanish prosecutors are expected to lodge an appeal against the verdict.
The Independent has more on this story here.
Jessica Nabongo is on her way to being the first black woman to visit every country
A former UN worker turned travel blogger is on a mission to be the first black woman to visit every country on the planet.
Jessica Nabongo, who has joint US and Ugandan nationality, has already visited 108 of the 195 counties on Earth. Originally from Detroit, she was first bitten by the travel bug after teaching English in Japan and studying for a postgraduate degree at the London School of Economics. Since then, she’s founded a boutique travel company, Jet Black, that organises custom trips for small groups in Africa.
In a new interview with CNN Travel, Nabongo said that being a woman of colour with a shaved head means that she often stands out while travelling – adding that she has had some scary experiences.
“Navigating the world as a woman can be very difficult,” she said. “I’ve had a pretty wide range of experiences. I’ve been accused of being a prostitute. I’ve had men chase me before. I’ve been assaulted on the street.”
However, she insisted that she would never let racism or sexism stop her from setting off on an adventure.
“Racism is a thing. There’s nothing we can do to get around that. History has made it that way. I exist as a black person in this world and I’m not going to let that hinder me from going anywhere I want to go. Namely, everywhere.”
Read the full interview here.
Women call on government to change early termination laws on Abortion Act’s 50th anniversary
Friday 27 April marks 50 years since the 1967 Abortion Act came into force in Britain. The implementation of the Act meant that women in England, Wales and Scotland were finally able to access abortions legally and safely, putting an end to dangerous backstreet abortions.
However, many medical and women’s organisations argue that the UK’s abortion laws still need to be changed to improve the lives of women. In a letter published in The Times, a coalition of organisations and doctors has called on health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt to allow women to take abortion pills at home.
Nearly two-thirds of all abortions today are medical rather than surgical, meaning that the termination is induced by medication instead of being carried out via an operation. Early medical abortions require women to take two pills, with one to two days between each one.
The law states that women must take these pills in front of a medical professional at a hospital or clinic, which can result in women experiencing bleeding, cramping or even miscarriage while travelling home.
Women in England are already allowed to take exactly the same pills at home to treat an incomplete miscarriage. Organisations including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and End Violence Against Women are asking for the “same dignity to be extended to women requesting an early abortion”.
Read the letter in full at The Times.
Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference, celebrating their success, and empowering future generations to follow their lead. See more from Visible Women here.
Images: Getty Images