Sunday marked the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and people around the world took to the streets to fight for women’s right to safety.
Bold statements against gender-based violence were made everywhere from Istanbul, where hundreds of women protestors were pelted with tear gas by police, to Italy, where footballers appeared with red paint marks on their cheeks — the symbol of a nationwide movement against domestic violence.
Protests were particularly forceful in Spain where, according to the AFP, thousands of demonstrators marched through Madrid and other towns, shouting “No more victims, we want freedom!”
The marches came amid growing frustration in Spain over authorities’ handling of sexual violence accusations. Complaints of gender-based assaults went up by 16 percent last year, and the acquittal of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old girl during the Running of the Bulls sparked virulent protests earlier this year. Just last week, another outcry erupted when a court in the Catalan city of Lleida cleared two men of rape charges because they were deemed to have not used “intimidation or violence” — though their victim reportedly begged them to stop.
“If you don’t defend yourself, it’s not rape,” Twitter user Mercedes Domènech opined at the time. “If you do, they kill you.”
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Read more at the AFP.