104847221 f5d0322e 4c66 40f2 bfbd 5fbf1c0bf73c - Spain violence against women: Outrage at teacher's murder
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Spain violence against women: Outrage at teacher's murder

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Laura Luelmo’s murder has sparked outrage in Spain

The murder of a 26-year-old woman who had crossed Spain for a teaching job has sparked outrage in the country, the latest high-profile case to put the spotlight on gender violence.

Laura Luelmo’s partially naked body was found near the southern village of El Campillo after five days of searching.

The murder is being investigated. She had travelled 500km (310 miles) to take up her first full-time job.

Campaigners say violence against women is still ingrained in Spain’s society.

The issue made headlines around the world earlier this year following the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman during the San Fermín bull-running festival in July 2016 in Pamplona.

The men, who became known as La manada (the wolf pack), were acquitted of rape and convicted on a lesser offence of sexual abuse. Judges said the woman had not been assaulted as no intimidation or violence was involved.

The decision sparked large demonstrations and a debate over the country’s legislation and gender violence in general.

Ms Luemo, who had left the north-western city of Zamora, went missing last Wednesday, sparking a search that involved more than 200 volunteers and officials.

Officials who searched her home believe she went out for a walk or run before disappearing, as they did not find her sports gear, smartphone and purse.

Her body was found among some bushes in a remote area outside El Campillo with signs of sexual violence, El Mundo newspaper reports (in Spanish).

It showed signs that she tried to defend herself and marks on her neck that could suggest a death by strangulation. She also appears to have been struck on the head.

The location was some distance from the last point mobile phone antennas had located her. No arrests have been made.

Ms Luemos’ parents reported her disappearance after she had failed to answer their calls or to show up at the secondary school in Nerva, next to El Campillo, where she had worked since 3 December.

Users on Twitter have used the hashtag #LauraSomosTodas (We’re all Laura) to react to the news, and thousands have shared a protest image made by Ms Luemo, who was described as a passionate illustrator, to mark International Women’s Day, on 8 March. It says: “You’re your opportunity.”

Others have shared an image saying: “Run without fear and don’t run for fear.”

Many have also reacted to a message Ms Luemos retweeted in 2015, which said: “They teach you not to go alone in dark places instead of teaching monsters not to be one. THAT’s the problem.”

Schools across Spain observed a minute’s silence while some demonstrated against gender violence. In 2017, the country’s general council of the judiciary received more than 166,000 complaints of violence against women, a 16.4% increase from the previous year.

Reacting to the murder, Carmen Calvo, Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister and Equality Minister, said: “Women have to pay cruel and extremely high prices for our freedom and security.”

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