“I started to hear a murmur and when I realized they were chasing me. I started running to get to my portal, which was nowhere, a minute’s walk away. They didn’t give me time. They cornered me and started hitting me.” This is how Julián Yanes relates the night in which a group of boys beat him up in the center of Madrid after calling him a “fag.”
It happened five and a half years ago, at dawn and after a night out with his friends. From that moment he remembers the confusion, the kicks he received from all sides and the anger of one of the aggressors, who did not stop hitting him even when another boy, whom he did not know at all, intervened. “He told him ‘what are you doing, you are going to kill him’ and he even took a kick from the uncle who was giving me,” he says, still surprised by the virulence of one of the attackers.
Julián is from Gran Canaria, he is 30 years old and by 2016 he had finished his degree in Audiovisual Communication and was looking for work. At that time, I had been evaluating going back to the Canary Islands for some time due to the work situation and the wear and tear that a city like Madrid can take you to. The beating they gave him that February night was the last straw.
He did not fear for his life, at least not in that instant. “I was not aware of what was happening. It was all very fast. For me those things did not happen and I did not assimilate it.” Julian had already had to defend himself from insults on other occasions, but they had never raised their hands. “It was like, uh, they just told me this, I’ve answered them and now I’m here. This time it went to the next level,” he acknowledges.
Still today it is not clear how many people cornered him that night, on the corner of Galileo and Cea Bermúdez. The police could not find his attackers and his case was closed a year later, he explains.
“I wasn’t scared during what happened. Afterwards, yes. It was more like bewilderment.” When the boy approached and yelled at the attackers, and another group of girls also approached the scene, the last of the attackers, the one who was kicking non-stop, ran away. Julián was talking to the people who had come to help him and called 911. By chance, the voice on the other end of the phone also had a Canarian accent and then yes, after a long time, she burst into tears. “When I noticed that contact with home without expecting it, everything that had happened came to me.”
Shortly after, the police arrived and took a statement from him and from the rest of the people who had remained at the scene. “They put me in the car and gave me a ride around the area to see if we could find some of the boys whose faces I didn’t remember too much of either. It was seen and unseen. I was covering myself so they wouldn’t hit me. that I had a very clear vision of what they were like. We did not find them, “he laments.
He had no doubts when filing a complaint. In fact, he was surprised that the agents themselves asked him whether or not he wanted to report what happened. “Of course I’m going to report it,” he replied. “They took me to the hospital. They did the injury report. They didn’t break anything, but I had a marked shoe print here, all over my chest, raw for several weeks. Besides, I had pain in my ribs, it was difficult for me to move. for the next few days, “he says, pointing to his chest and belly.
That morning, before going to bed, he posted on Facebook what had happened to him. He wrote a text accompanied by photos of his body so that everyone could see what had been done to him. He was very “outraged”. When he woke up the next day, his cell phone was full of calls and messages. Among others, a message from the Arcópoli association. They had contacted him to advise him. “They recommended that I delete the post and gave me a set of guidelines on how to proceed. I am super grateful.”
“I wanted to tell everyone, to get it out everywhere. And on the second day I couldn’t take it anymore. Suddenly, as the day went by, I was more aware of what had happened to me and it really started to affect me” , recalls. “I had to start saying that I didn’t want any more interviews and not answering people because I couldn’t. It was very hard.”
My pulse would accelerate a lot when I passed by the site, when I was walking down the street at night or when I heard a noise
As the days went by, he began to feel fear and that which ensures that he has always been a “person who does not become obsessed or shut up when something bad happens to him.” He couldn’t go around the corner where everything had happened, his hair would stand on end, his heart would race. “I had post-traumatic shock and sometimes my pulse would accelerate a lot when I was passing by the site, when I was going down the street at night or when I heard a noise.”
The return home: “It was the literal kick that I was missing”
A few months later he returned to Gran Canaria. “I would be lying if I said that this fact had nothing to do with it because I think it was the literal kick that I needed to leave. I was very burned and then this had happened to me. I needed some peace and quiet,” he assumes.
He never thought about leaving for good, nor that it would be five years before he returned to Madrid, his second city. In Gran Canaria he got a job in a newspaper at night. Many times, he says, he had a very bad time going back and forth at night. The noise of a billboard moving in the wind or the horn of a car caused all the alarms to go off. “It gave me such a fright that it seemed that my heart was going to come out of my mouth.” He also did not like having to pass near a group of boys. He tried to avoid them and lowered his head.
“I have always dressed as I have wanted, maybe one day I can dress you with a multicolored snake set. Well, I didn’t wear that much anymore because it gave me something. What happened played with my head for a long time. I thought it wasn’t going to affect me at first, it affected me more as time went by than at the moment. ” Although the wound is healed, he assumes that he will never be like he was before he went out to party that February night. “I think it made my character quite bitter and made me a bit cynical. I have had to relativize it and learn to be the same depending on what things. Keep going, don’t give it more laps because if you don’t enter a loop from which you don’t leave and you’re angry all day. ”
Julian, who is already a tall and thin boy, lost ten kilos during the following summer and had a lot of trouble sleeping. “My case was assault number 56 of 2016 and it was February 6,” he says on a run. “The last complaint, which has now been known to be not real, it does cause a bit of anger. But even more so to see how many people speak out about a false attack and never pronounce on the ten thousand reais that there are” , protest.
Samuel’s case helped him to talk about his
Until Samuel’s murder in A Coruña, Julián had not written about his own case again, apart from the Facebook post that he later deleted on the recommendation of experts. “As a result of what happened to Samuel, In the newspaper where I work they asked me to tell my experience to make visible that these things happen to people from all over the world. At first I was cold, but then I said: I’m going to do it to free myself, “he says animatedly.
“It helped me to put an end to it. Now I’m talking about it with you and I’m calm. Two years ago I would have been more nervous or my eyes would have watered because in the end it is an unpleasant experience. To a certain extent, it has conditioned part of my life and the decisions I have made, but life goes on and I am not going to be anchored to the fact that four assholes wanted to do that, “he says.
Julián has just returned to Madrid and has done it with work. He is 30 years old, a few more gray hairs in his hair and a great desire to continue enjoying the city after a five-year hiatus.