A court in Peru has thrown out a rape case saying that the alleged victim wore “lacy red underwear” to a party and that was a clear sign that she intended to have sex that night and so could not have been raped.
The bench, two of whom were women, stated that the victim was not as shy as she claimed and acquitted the defendant.
Judges Ronald Andia, Diana Espino and Lucy Chacaltana ruled on Oct 29 that the complainant had misrepresented herself, adding that women only wear red underwear on special occasions when they intend to have sex.
Names have not been released to local media who reported that the 20-year-old woman said she was drunk and unconscious at a party when the accused, 22, told her they were going to collect some documents from his place and he would then take her home. However, she awoke naked in his bed the next morning.
The accused man claimed that the allegations against him were just a form of “revenge” by the woman.
Following the not guilty decision, there has been a national outcry across Peru.
The country’s Ministry of Women said it “profoundly rejected” the court’s argument which it said contained stereotypes and “revictimised” the complainant.
Protests erupted in the capital Lima, with women taking to the streets wearing red underwear around their legs to show solidarity with the alleged victim.
“A Rapist in Your Path” – the song chanted by Peruvian protesters – is becoming a rallying cry for women’s rights protesters around the world.
Activists across Latin America are urging their governments to do more to tackle endemic levels of violence against women.
The case recalls an Irish court decision in a 2018 rape case in the southern city of Cork.
Protests flared across Ireland when the 27-year-old defendant was acquitted after his lawyer showed the 17-year-old alleged victim’s G-string in court as “proof” of her consent. The court ruled that “the victim had been open to meeting someone because she was wearing a thong with a laced front”.
In recent rape trials, particular “provocative” clothing, fake tan and contraceptives have all been used as alleged proof of consent.