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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 14:16 GMT
'Smart dresser' loses abuse case
Women's groups were outraged by the verdict
A man accused of domestic violence has been released after a Spanish court ruled that his wife was too well dressed to be a victim of such abuse.

The Moroccan woman claimed she was married against her will at the age of 17 and taken to Spain in 2001.

She says she was locked up and beaten by her husband before she finally fled to a women's shelter, according to Spanish media reports.

Spanish women's groups condemned the judge's decision as abhorrent.

Barcelona judge Francisco Javier Pauli Collado, who is said to have a good reputation for dealing with women abuse cases, said he found the woman's story "inconsistent with the fear and loss of all sense of initiative that characterise beaten wives".

In his verdict he went on to say that her "physical appearance during the three-day hearing - carefully groomed, dressed differently each day, with rings, bracelets, fancy earrings and large glasses - ... does not fit the profile of a woman who has suffered months of aggression".


He said he was not suggesting that someone could not progress out of negative situations. But he said such an ability did not usually come out of the supposedly continual aggression alleged in this case.

A medical report describing multiple bruising on the woman's body was presented during the hearing but the court found there was "no evidence" to suggest that her husband was responsible.

Radio Cadena Ser said women's associations had described the verdict as "abhorrent" and hoped action will be taken against the judge.

Consuelo Abril, from the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse, said that the judge's decision perpetuated the false stereotype that an abused woman had to be poorly dressed and belong to a particular social background.

European press review
29 Jul 03  |  Europe

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