As the Bulls Run, Another Kind of Violence in Pamplona: Rape

At least 15 reports of sexual violence so far at this year's San Fermin fest
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2016 2:44 PM CDT
As the Bulls Run, Another Kind of Violence in Pamplona: Rape
In this photo taken Monday, people hold up signs during a protest against alleged sexual assaults in Pamplona, Spain.   (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Bulls goring humans in Pamplona isn't the only form of violence making headlines at this year's San Fermin festival. At least 15 cases of sexual assault, including four rapes and one attempted rape, and 15 arrests have been reported since the festival started July 6, drawing attention once more to the sexual violence that's been prominent on organizers' radar since the 2008 beating death of a young woman, the Guardian reports. Five of the suspects are being tied to one alleged attack: the rape of a 19-year-old woman that was reportedly filmed on a cellphone, the New York Times reports. One of the men is said to be a recent grad of Spain's military police corps, while another is also reportedly a service member. A female police officer says she was molested; a 22-year-old French woman said she was raped in a parking lot bathroom, per the Local.

Thousands have already taken to the streets in protest, demonstrating against what San Fermin Mayor Joseba Asiron last year called an "intolerable … black stain on San Fermin." The Telegraph notes that last year's event saw only four sexual assault reports total, making this year's increase alarming. But the councilor of Pamplona's public safety program says that rise in numbers is only because the city is working so hard to combat sexual violence, making it easier for women to report it and therefore upping the number of attacks cited in the media. "I don't think what's happening in Pamplona is different from what's happening in other cities at festival time," he tells the Guardian. "It's just that we've opened up the channels of communication" and have 3,400 officers on the streets. (More running of the bulls stories.)

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