Monday, April 30, 2018

Verdict in Pamplona Gang Rape Case Sets Off Immediate Outcry

Verdict in Pamplona Gang Rape Case Sets Off Immediate Outcry

A protest Thursday against the verdict in the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old in Pamplona. The court found the men guilty of “sexual abuse,” but cleared them of the more serious charge of rape.CreditVillar Lopez/EPA, via Shutterstock
MADRID — In a case that was seen as a bellwether for women’s rights in Spain, a court on Thursday sentenced five men for sexually abusing a woman during the bull-running festival of Pamplona, but cleared them of raping her, to the dismay of women’s associations.
Shortly after the verdict, various women’s groups announced that they would lead protests on Thursday evening across Spain to condemn the ruling. The five men were sentenced to nine years in prison for “continuous sexual abuse,” rather than the almost 23 years in prison that the prosecution had sought for rape and other charges.
The woman’s lawyer said she would appeal the ruling. The government of Navarre, the region of Pamplona where the case was heard, said it would back the appeal. The case could go as far as the Spanish Supreme Court.
The attack took place in July 2016, during the festivities in Pamplona that have turned into one of Spain’s main tourism attractions, when visitors flock to the city to watch people try to dodge bulls hurtling down narrow streets on their way to the ring.
An 18-year-old woman, whose identity has been protected by the authorities, was attacked in the early hours of the morning by five men, who filmed the assault using a cellphone. The incident set off mass street protests and a national outcry at the time.
The court on Thursday found the five young men, who are from Seville, guilty of “sexual abuse” of the woman, but cleared them of the more serious charge of rape, which must involve violence or intimidation under Spanish law.
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On top of their prison sentence, the men were ordered to pay a combined 50,000 euros ($60,600) in compensation to the woman. One of the defendants, who was a military police officer at the time, was also fined €900 for stealing her cellphone.
The five men used to refer to their own gang as the “manada,” a term commonly used to refer to a pack of wolves, a description that in itself became a symbol for feminist associations of the aggressive machismo that women suffer in Spain.
Following their detention, the men’s lawyers argued that the woman was not gang raped but had consented to unprotected sex. Part of their claim was based on the phone video footage, which showed her to have been still, with her eyes shut during the assault.
The lawyers also argued that, after meeting the men, the woman had agreed to be escorted by them to her car and had allowed one of the men to kiss her. The prosecution, however, argued that any initial friendliness turned to terror once she was taken instead by the men into an out-of-sight alcove and attacked there, leaving her too frightened to fight back or even move while being raped.
The attack was one of several assaults reported during the bull-running festival in 2016, even though the city had organized a special information campaign to help prevent sex crimes. The police presence had also been stepped up and high-definition surveillance cameras deployed across the city.
Thursday’s verdict followed a long trial that had already set off significant controversy after lawyers for the five men started to portray the victim as a consenting sexual partner who suffered no lasting damage.
The defendants’ lawyers also used a private detective to follow the woman and gather evidence that she returned to a normal life after the assault, but part of that evidence was eventually withdrawn by the judges. Instead, the woman said that she was undergoing long-term therapy to help her overcome the trauma of the sexual assault.
Following Thursday’s ruling, Soledad Murillo, a former state secretary for gender equality, called for an overhaul of Spain’s criminal code. The ruling, she said, left the impression that “these guys went a bit too far but didn’t want to hurt.”
Pedro S├ínchez, the leader of the main Socialist opposition party, wrote on Twitter: “If what the wolf pack did as a group wasn’t violence against a defenseless woman, what do we then understand to be rape?”
The official spokesman of the Basque regional government, Josu Erkoreka, warned that the ruling would give legitimacy to machismo violence and would not be understood “by the society of the 21st century.”
Different police associations also condemned the ruling, posting “No is No” messages on social media — one of the slogans that was already widely used in the protests held in 2016 after the attack in Pamplona.
Public interest in the outcome of the Pamplona trial also rose following the launch of the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns to fight sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.
Last month, about 120 demonstrations took place across Spain to celebrate International Women’s Day, which was also turned into a day of strikes by labor unions that backed the women’s movement.
Follow Raphael Minder on Twitter: @RaphaelMinder
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Outcry After Pamplona Rape Case VerdictOrder Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Advantages of Online Banking

    Five Advantages of Online Banking

    Online banking is becoming much more common. You can pay your bills online and access a record of your checking account transactions online. Online banking is a great feature, and most banks offer it. Online banking makes everything you do with your finances a bit easier. You can access the information anywhere that you have access to the Internet. It makes your financial life much easier to manage. You may decide to switch your accounts to an online only bank in the future. Some banks allow you to deposit checks by simply taking a picture of  Here are five advantages of online banking.
  • 01
     Pay Your Bills Online

    One of the advantages of online banking is you can bank at home.

    You can use online banking to pay your bills. This will eliminate the need for stamps and protect yourself from the check being lost in the mail. Most banks will have a section in which you set up payees. You will need to fill out the information once, and then you can simply choose that profile every time you pay a bill online.
    If your bank will not pay bills online you may consider paying online through the company. Be careful since some of these companies may charge a convenience fee. Some places will charge a fee for a debit card, but not if you set up a direct debit.  Many banks even allow you to take photos of your checks to deposit them now. This means that you can handle all of your banking without ever going to the bank.
    • Pay bills online through your bank or directly through the website of your service provider.
    • Set up automatic bill payments for bills that do not change.
    • Watch out for convenience fees associated with online bill pay.
  • 02
     View Your Transactions

    Online banking allows you to access your account history and transactions from anywhere. This is the quickest way to check and see if a transaction has cleared your account. This can help you to find out the amount of a transaction after you have lost your receipt. It also allows you to find out about unauthorized transactions more quickly. This can help you to resolve the issues more quickly.
    Some banks will show you pending transactions. These are transactions that you made that day. If you spot something you did not authorize, you can contact your bank and the vendor in order to reverse the charges. The sooner you catch a problem like this, the more quickly you can resolve it. Pending transactions may not be for the exact amount of the purchase. For example, if you leave a tip this will not show on the pending transaction. Be sure to keep that in mind as you balance your account.
    • Check your cleared debits daily to balance your account.
    • Keep track of pending transactions.
    • Catch errors quickly for easier correction.
  • 03
     Transfer Money Between Accounts

    Online banking also allows you to transfer money between accounts much more quickly. It is more convenient than using the automated phone service, and can save you a trip to the bank. When you apply or set up your online banking, be sure that all of the accounts you have at the bank are listed. This will make it easier to transfer money and make loan payments online.
    You also have the option of transferring money between different banks online. This will not happen as quickly since the money still needs to go between financial institutions, but it is much more convenient than running to the bank. Depending on the type of account, your bank may limit the number of online transfers. You need to make sure that you do not go over the number of allowed transfers.
    • Make transfers without leaving home.
    • Check on availability of funds before you spend the money.
    • Be sure to stick to the allowed number of transfers.
  • 04
     Mobile Banking

    Most banks will have a mobile app that allows you to take advantage of online banking on your phone. This makes online banking even more convenient and allows you to quickly check up on your account when you are out shopping. However, you need to be sure you are accessing this information on a  secure network and avoid using public WiFi while completing these transactions. Mobile banking makes online banking even easier. 
    • Check your balance while you are shopping or on the go.
    • Transfer money to cover purchases you are currently making.
  • 05
     Syncing With Your Money Applications

    Many money apps will automatically sync with your online banking information. This makes sticking to your budget much easier. Many apps will work both on your home computer and your mobile device so you can stay up-to-date while you are on the go. It is also easier to track your spending for your budget if you are using one of these apps. Many people no longer receive paper statements, but it is still important to balance your account to your bank each month to prevent you from overdrawing your account. If your bank is small, it may not offer the syncing function, but you can still update your accounts each day by logging on and entering your accounts manually. 
    • Online budgeting apps make managing your money easier.
    • Budget while you are shopping so that you can stop spending when you reach your limit.
    • Sync spending in real time so your partner and you do not overspend at different stores without realizing it. 
  • 06
     Protect Yourself Online

    It is important to be careful when banking online. You do not want your safety or privacy to be breached. It is important to clear your cookies after each banking session if you are at a public computer. Additionally, you need to make sure that your password is long enough to prevent it from easily being hacked. Never give your online account information to someone who is not an authorized signer on your account. Check your credit report regularly. These steps should protect you from identity theft. You should make sure to protect your password especially if you have roommates. Take the time to make the necessary precautions. 
    • Monitor your account regularly for fraudulent charges.
    • Avoid using public Wi-Fi when accessing your accounts.
    • Follow the password guidelines, and consider changing your password on a regular basis.