Hon. Gloria Poyatos was Interviewed at El Intermedio about Patriarchal Justice and Sexual Violence

Spain | Magistrate Gloria Poyatos, IAWJ Board Member, was in an interview at the program “El Intermedio” from La Sexta, discussing patriarchal justice and sexual violence in her country. During the interview, Hon. Gloria Poyatos, Magistrate at the Superior Tribunal of Justice in Canarias, addressed gender inequalities, both in the judicial system, and within the legislation.

Magistrate Poyatos raised important issues. She mentioned that, despite the fact that women have conquered legal equality, they have not conquered real equality.

She criticized the absence of women in high positions of the judiciary. She explained that, despite the fact that the judicial career is composed mostly of women and more than 50% of the judges are women, in the General Council of the Judiciary only 20% are women. Furthermore, in the entire history of the Constitutional Court–which is a court with competence to void government resolutions, Supreme Court rulings, or laws of Parliament–out of 64 members, only 6 have been women.

Hon. Gloria Poyatos emphasized the importance for judges on the bench to have no bias or prejudices.

“A prejudiced waitress is not the same as a prejudiced judge, because with a prejudiced judge we are at risk of turning justice into partial justice.” Stereotypes “are immune to laws, but those who judge are not immune to stereotypes.”

Hon. Gloria Poyatos

She continued saying that in crimes of sexual violence, there is a difference between abuse and sexual assault: violence. If we take into account that men are socialized for command and authority and women for submission, in a moment of panic they react with violence and submission, respectively. As a result, there is a distinction in the treatment of men and women that is a “clear example that the criminal legal system treats men and women unequally and needs reform.”

The Magistrate reiterated there is need for reforms, not only in the criminal code, but also in other legal systems, such as labor law. Labor law was created without applying a gender perspective and it neglects to take into account the time people, mostly women, dedicate to their activities as caregivers. This has generated a difference in the treatment of men and women in the labor context.

Hon. Poyatos concluded by saying that it is incoherent when people in her country, mainly right-wing parties, propose to repeal the Comprehensive Law against Gender Violence because this law is in compliance with international treaties ratified by Spain. Treaties that guarantee that the law must have a gender perspective. As a judge, “she owes it to the legal system. It is in the legal system that these international treaties are placed and guaranteed.” The elimination of this law, she said, would put the country in a breach with international law.

“If legislators eliminate a law on gender violence” she argued, she is obliged to apply international law and international treaties in order not to compromise the responsibility of her State.

To watch the entire interview in Spanish, see La Sexta’s video below.

To read parts of the interview in Spanish, go to Huffington Post.