Spain's bull festival seeks to trample sex crimes
By Martin Roberts
PAMPLONA, Spain (Reuters) - Spain's San Fermin festival is well known for its annual crop of gorings during the traditional bull-running, but sex crimes are a less-publicized problem that local authorities would really like to stamp out.
The Andrea ("Woman" in the Basque language) women's group in the northern city Pamplona said there were five rape cases during last year's week-long festival, although they estimated that many more were not reported.
"The victims feel ashamed, and then they have to face questions like what were you doing there, at that time, with that guy, you were asking for it, and so on," said Teresa Saez, president of Andrea.
The festival, which brings thousands of people to town for the running, bullfights, drinking and carousing, also brings with it a cacophony of noise, fights, vagrancy and plenty of dangers that haven't anything to do with rampaging bulls.
"We are up against a macho culture, which sees women as objects, so we have to keep working on education," said Saez, who also works as a local government equality officer.
The Spanish authorities and media assign a high priority to exposing and clamping down on gender violence.
Artists also work to raise awareness and Spain's cinema industry has awarded its top Goya prize for best picture to "Te doy los ojos" (I give you my eyes), a film about domestic violence against women directed by Iciar Bollain.
The Diario de Noticias daily in Pamplona said in a Friday editorial that Spanish authorities have already been unable to prevent the killing of 31 women across Spain by their partners or spouses in the first half of 2011 alone. Continued...