Thursday, December 2

Igualada, Pamplona, ​​your town or mine; the place doesn’t matter, the fear is the same

Equalizer. Pamplona. To Pobra do Caramiñal. Mijas. Manresa. Alcàsser. The story of a woman who leaves the house and does not return, or who returns but does so attacked, destroyed, bruised, vexed, is the story of our lives. It is not the exception, it is not the isolated event, it is the way in which women have learned to live since we can remember.

She is 16 years old and went out to party with her friends. She ended up lying in a street, naked, unconscious, brutally attacked. She doesn’t remember anything, but has already said that she feels guilty. He is now facing a physical, psychological and emotional recovery, but also the media noise, the attention and public scrutiny, and the long-distance race that will be the police investigation and the judicial process.

From the aggression, she has to recover, above all. But so do we. Because his body lying on the ground of a polygon is that alarm that goes off all of us to remind us that we must not lower our guard. Today, tomorrow, the day after, women who go out to party, or cross a park, cross a field, get on a night bus, or meet a man with whom they may want to go home will have, in the background , to that girl from Igualada in his head.

Fear can be an adaptive mechanism: it helps us know when to flee or fight to get ahead. But fear is also a powerful control tool.

A report by the organization Plan International pointed out that 40% of women who live in cities avoid places for security reasons. That study drew attention to Madrid, where 49% of women assured that incidents “happen so frequently” that they were already used to it. Many of the incidents in the capital, they noted, occurred “around central and important sites.”

The Agency for Fundamental Rights of the European Union published a few years ago the world’s largest survey on gender-based violence. Of the 186 million adult women living in Europe, 62 million, that is, one in three, has suffered physical or sexual violence as an adult. One in 20 has been raped. Half of the women avoid ‘risky situations’, such as traveling by public transport, leaving the house alone or walking in places with little crowds.

Equalizer. Pamplona. To Pobra do Caramiñal. Mijas. Manresa. Alcàsser. The girl who was raped in your town or the friend who didn’t want to tell you what happened that night with that boy she slept with. Equalizer. Pamplona. To Pobra do Caramiñal. Mijas. Manresa. Alcàsser. Your people, mine. The place does not matter, the fear is the same.

The discomfort of the guy who stalks you in a bar, the friend who gets heavy one night, the strategy we anticipate to return home, the fear in the street, the restlessness in the doorway, not losing sight of your drink, the doubt whether to go to bed with that guy, the slimy superior who you don’t know how to stop his feet, the insistent boyfriend you end up giving up on.

The latest Macro-survey on Violence against Women made in Spain says that 6.5% of women (1.3 million) have suffered sexual violence at some point in their lives by someone who was not their partner or ex-partner. 2.2% of women (almost half a million women) have been raped. 99.6% of the sexual offenders were men, mainly men known to women.

The place does not matter, the fear is the same. In what way can we think of equality when fear for our physical and psychological integrity, for our life, takes up so much time and energy.

This Macro-survey also says that only 8% of women who suffer sexual violence denounce it. Among other reasons, for shame and guilt, that guilt that the girl from Igualada already feels, although she barely remembers. It may help you to remember those lines that Lashesis sang and that were repeated by thousands of women around the world:

And it wasn’t my fault, not where she was or how she dressed.

The rapist is you.

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