Judge Tosses Harassment Suit, Says Woman Too Smart to Have Been Abused

A Spanish judge has thrown out a woman's harassment suit against her ex-husband on the grounds she has a good education, arguing that had she really suffered abuse during their 16-year marriage she would have reported it right away or sought counseling.

Women's advocacy groups voiced outrage over Wednesday's ruling by a judge in the northern city of Valladolid, and Spain's ruling Socialist party asked a judicial oversight board to review it.

The plaintiff, a high school teacher whose name has not been released, filed the suit last month arguing that her husband subjected her to psychological harassment throughout their 16-year marriage. They separated three years ago.

Judge Jose Luis Chamorro, who heads a court specializing in gender violence cases, cast doubt on the woman's claims.

He said he found it "surprising" that a woman with her level of education would put up with that alleged treatment for so many years without reporting it or seeing a psychiatrist, and "curious" that she is filing suit now, years after the marriage fell apart.

Rocio Mielgo, president of the Association of Victims of Sexual Aggression and Mistreatment, said the ruling is unacceptable because it suggests that only "if you are from a lower class or have little education can you be mistreated."

The ruling Socialist party's top official on sexual equality issues, Maribel Montano, called the judge's arguments "worrisome" and asked a body that acts as watchdog for the Spanish judicial system to review the sentence.