Friday, September 22

A woman is free for everything

You are not going to decide about my life; I’ll be the one to do it

Amy Schumer

A woman is free to make all her decisions.

Witness Protected #1 as well. He could do it and he has done it. She has decided not to submit to a legal proceeding that lasted for years, nor to media harassment that was going to harm her, nor to a social trial that she did not want either. Perhaps to worse things. She had reason to fear according to what the victim of San Fermines experienced afterwards. The decision of the victim of the rape of the Estepona policemen does not question her but us. The decision that she has made through her procedural representative to reach an agreement and not hold her trial has been made to seek the best for her and I stand up and applaud her because it is not her job to satisfy anyone or to nobody. It is very possible that he is absolutely right: avoiding the trial is preventing her identity and her current life from being trampled on again with impunity. I probably would have advised her myself, all things considered, if she had been her mother.

So I don’t understand the controversy. This is not a topic for controversy but for reflection. Protected Witness No. 1 was raped and harassed at the age of 18 by two law enforcement officers dressed in uniform. Two guys who went to her house, snatched some keys and raped her on her own kitchen counter. Two policemen. She doesn’t have to explain to anyone what she decides to do now. Feminism is not a new inquisition that takes away from women their power to govern their lives and forces them to live it in a certain way. If so, delete me. In this case, we do not have to look at the victim but at many other sources of ignominy and guilt that do not concern her. That’s why I leave her here, with her life in extraordinary trauma and with her decision that she intends to prevent further harm. I only wish Protected Witness No. 1 with total sisterhood that she can overcome such an entity trauma and that the rest of her life be very happy living it as she decides to live it.

This matter has many more edges and we are the ones who are going to go into them.

In the first place, the functioning of the Administration of Justice. Not because of the acceptance of the agreement or because of the agreement itself, which is perfectly legal, but because of the Justice seen through the eyes of the victim. He has spent four years, four, since his rape until the agreement that avoids trial and he still had to pass the oral trial and who knows if another two or more until he obtains a final sentence. The first reflection is about how long a victim can and should be subjected to the permanent memory of her outrage. When you want to be critical, don’t criticize those judges who could only accept the agreement, but those who don’t create enough positions for judges or prosecutors, or pay enough officials, or make the slightest effort to see justice done within a reasonable time.

Then there is the way in which Justice, due to its own characteristics, treats victims of crimes that deeply affect a woman’s privacy. A human being without intimacy is not such. To destroy it partially is to destroy it in part and affect the essential core of it. The process must be contradictory and respect all the guarantees, but it must not be a new torture for the already victimized. These paths must be explored decisively. Less fodder on laws and more establish actual mechanisms. Neither the procedure nor the material form in which it is carried out are balm for any raped or abused woman. I have seen that the prosecutor of the Viogen Chamber suggested yesterday to advance in the pre-constitution of the test in crimes of sexual violence. This would mean copying the system that is followed with minors and carrying out a single statement -with a judge and all the parties included- during the investigation that would already serve for the oral trial. I only see one drawback, and that is that it is a recording and we already know what we are exposing ourselves to if the custody is not perfect.

The second reflection is about the police, their members and their selection. We are talking about two policemen who, while doing a breathalyser test, become “infatuated” with an 18-year-old girl who is drunk inside a vehicle that they stop and who take advantage of her condition to try to meet her, to which she refuses, and then to follow her to her house, enter and rape her there. Reading the sentence, it is perfectly understood how they used the power of the uniform and the threat to frighten three very young people and achieve their criminal objective. His parents have paid 80,000 euros for civil liability and to achieve in the agreement to change the 30 years for 2 years in prison, special disqualification for public employment, which means expulsion from the police, inclusion in the file of sexual aggressors, freedom monitored for 5 years -the first with monthly presentations-, prohibition to approach less than 500 meters and to communicate with her by any method in 10 years and disqualification for passive suffrage. The two years in prison have almost automatically become a non-entry into prison, although the president of the court has not seen it that way, who, given the practical absence of punishment for such a despicable act, has made a particular vote. Pedro Molero, the dissenting magistrate, considers that the will of the victim must be taken into account -we are dealing with semi-public crimes- but he believes that there is no clear forecast that they will not reoffend and that this was decisive when it came to put them in prison. “The sentences cry out to be fulfilled” he says.

Let’s also talk about the shadow of the trial of La Manada and the consequences that the decision of the defense of those guys to question their actions had for the victim. Let’s look at the revelation of her identity and the photographs that were shown. Let us remember the hours of heated debates in which a group of contenders -the anti-feminists- constantly questioned and judged the acts of the victim, the life of the victim and ended up questioning her. This has undoubtedly weighed on the decision of Protected Witness #1. She is not going to feel repaired by this sentence or by the 30-year sentence, but “the rigors of a trial or the media interest” were not going to help her either. The media have also weighed. The hours of television have weighed. The tone of the debates has weighed. A great weight falls on the media but, listen to this well, also on society. The media do not make their programs more yellow or dirtier or more aggressive for the victims just for a decision but to gain an audience and the audience, ladies and gentlemen, is also you, it is millions of people, it is society. They don’t turn that off, they turn it on. They already understand me. If the victim of Estepona has preferred conformity, she is also for all of us.

Finally a little note about the male friends who sometimes accompany the victims. In this case there was also one, whose behavior could not have been more abject in my opinion. Seeing clearly the objective of the police officers, not only did she not adopt any position to prevent it, but she urged her friend the victim to stay and wait for them and tells her, according to the sentence, “that due to the police status of the accused, the police come to see you at you, please stay because they are policemen and if we don’t do what they want our hair will fall out” and then he allows the keys to be taken from the house without putting up any resistance. It’s that they undress her and penetrate her with her fingers and hold her in front of him without her doing anything! Would a boy behave like this a few decades ago?

The victim has considered that the agreement was the best for her life and that must be respected. Our only mission is to set the conditions so that other victims do not see as the best solution to stop the gear of the trial and the media. That is the problem and not your decision.