The Age

French gang rape trial a 'shipwreck' for victims

Sat October 13, 2012 12:25am

The case has highlighted the problems in historic rape investigations where material evidence is lacking and much rests on the woman's word. Lawyers for the women said they felt the women's testimony had not been respected.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said there might be grounds to appeal.

''I'm shocked by gang rapes, by every form of aggression against women, and I think we have to create conditions so that the facts are established and those guilty can be effectively identified,'' Ms Taubira said.

The French Minister for Women's Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said the case showed that better education on sex and sexuality was needed in schools.

The Fontenay-sous-Bois attacks took place between 1999 and 2001. Nina said that when she was 16 years old, she was returning from a cinema when she was grabbed by a group of local youths, taken to a basement, raped and subjected to a series of brutal sex attacks.

The extremely violent, prolonged attacks continued daily, in car parks, stairwells, apartments, cellars and an empty playground.

She said there would be ''at least 25'' youths present during attacks in which she screamed, cried and vomited. One witness described 50 boys queuing to attack her.

Nina kept quiet about the attacks until 2005, when she told a police officer after she was left unconscious by a brutal beating.

Psychiatric experts had said that both Nina and Stephanie were victims of rape. Nina has put on 70 kilograms since the attacks. She described the weight gain as a shell behind which to hide. Stephanie attempted to kill herself a few days into the trial, which was held behind closed doors because the defendants were minors at the time of the rapes. GUARDIAN

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