Sentencia nº 752 de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Número de Expediente: 16-0203)

A female motorcycle taxi driver was diverted by a male passenger to a remote location, where he knocked off her helmet with a blow to the head and used a broken bottle and threats to force her to perform oral sex.  Prosecutors charged him with (1) physical violence, (2) psychological violence, (3) sexual violence, and (4) threats.  Notably, prosecutors dropped the physical and psychological violence charges, explaining that (1) the helmet had protected the victim from any “visible injuries legally diagnosable through a medical examination,” and (2) it was not possible to show that she was “psychologically impacted by the events,” given that they “occurred for the first time and not in a manner continuous or permanent in time.”  The defendant pled guilty to sexual violence and threats, and was sentenced to 100 months of imprisonment.  On a constitutional appeal to the Supreme Court, the defendant argued that sexual violence and threats were impossible to prove in the absence of physical or psychological violence.  The Supreme Court rejected the appeal.  Citing various sources, the Court declared that “the nucleus of the crime of sexual violence is the infringement of a woman’s right to decide upon her sexuality voluntarily and freely.”  The Court noted, moreover, that threats were a form of violence sufficient to prove sexual violence under the statutory definitions.  This case is important because it makes clear that neither physical nor psychological violence is required in order to establish the commission of sexual violence.    

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