Protests recently erupted outside an Italian appeals court after it became known that rape charges against two Peruvian men were overturned because the judges thought the victim looked “too masculine” and not attractive enough to be attacked.
The revelations surfaced Friday when the country’s highest appeals court ordered a retrial of the 2017 ruling.
In 2016, the defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison for their involvement in the alleged crime that took place in the central Italian city of Ancona. But the following year, they were acquitted by the city’s appeals court, with the judges stating in their reasoning that the victim’s account was not credible since she looked too much like a man, according to British news outlet The Guardian.
The woman, whose name is protected under Italian law and is also of Peruvian origin, was believed to be in her early 20s at the time of the alleged attack.
The alleged victim’s lawyer, Cinzia Molinaro, told CNN that the judges’ reasoning stated she was not reliable because the accused men “didn’t find her attractive, she was too masculine.”
The judges, three females, also noted that one of the men saved the woman’s number in his phone under the name “Viking,” and added that the “photograph present in her file would appear to confirm this.”
Molinaro told the Guardian that after reading those lines in 2017, she felt compelled to refer the case to the supreme court.
“It was disgusting to read,” Molinaro said. “The judges expressed various reasons for deciding to acquit them, but one was because the [defendants] said they didn’t even like her, because she was ugly. They also wrote that a photograph [of the woman] reflected this.”
According to reports, doctors found that the woman’s injuries were consistent with that of rape victims and she tested positive for a tranquilizer that has been used as a date rape drug.