San Sebastián, Sep 22 (EFE).- Women who said they suffered sexual abuse in the classroom of the Lleida theater when they were teenagers found a loudspeaker this Thursday at the San Sebastián Festival, where they presented, out of competition, “The Yellow Roof”, a documentary by Isabel Coixet which collects their stories.
At the time of the facts, they were 13, 14 or 15 years old and did not understand that they were victims of a system of “manipulation by seduction”, as they explain in the documentary. When they finally dared to take legal action in 2018, the case had prescribed.
His attackers were two teachers from the center, one of them, Antonio Gómez, became director and was over 30 years old. For his students, he was a “reference”, a “transgressive” and “creative” type towards whom they felt a deep admiration who he manipulated them.
Coixet decided to make the documentary after reading the investigation published by the newspaper “Ara” in 2020, as he told this Thursday during a press conference.
“The article hinted at powerful voices,” said the Catalan filmmaker, winner of the 2020 National Cinema Award. “After speaking with them for the first time, it seemed incredible to me that he prescribed: the parquet acknowledged the truth of the facts in their writings, but He said He had prescribed.
The events, which according to the “Ara” report took place over 20 years, although the complaint only covered the period between 2001 and 2008, included highly sexualized classes, with touching involving the teacher, who took the minors at home, he met them on Sundays or entered the locker room when they were changing.
“He made you feel special because he chose you,” says one of them in the documentary, Goretti Narcis, who at the age of 15 had sex with him in thinking she was “the only one”, like other of her companions (there were nine who reported).
During the press conference, Marta Pachón explained that the reason for appearing is to encourage “those who have not dared to speak out”, and Miriam Fuentes added that it is about “changing the history and the social discourse that promote this, that little by little the aggressors feel less free to do so”.
However, they see it as very difficult to reopen the file because there would have to be new complaints from a more recent period, and they know how difficult it is to take the plunge.
“The real act of courage is to recognize that you have suffered abuse,” said Sonia Palau. For them, the key was to go together. “Our journey together has been healing and we have learned about abuse and about brotherhood.”
“We have to change the chip when we talk about abuse and victimization,” Fuentes added, “Isabel has not been sensationalist at all and it is the responsibility of the media not to show the image of a person in mourning because no one wants to identify with it”.
In this sense, they were grateful that “The Yellow Roof” did not focus on the harassment they suffered, but on the profile of the aggressor, despite the fact that Gómez refused to participate in the documentary.
“I think he’s the protagonist,” Palau pointed out. “The predator repeats his behavior, Isabel knew how to put the emphasis where we wanted, on him, not on us, because he is the one who must feel shame and guilt.”
The lack of mechanisms to support these complaints is also criticised. “Some of our colleagues, when they spoke with the school, they questioned them, they didn’t understand. There are no tools because people are not trained,” Palau said.
Coixet said archival material was difficult to obtain and nothing was provided to them from the classroom, everything had been ‘erased’ and the footage included therein is filmed with cellphones by parents or students.
For the director of films like “The Secret Life of Words” or “My Life Without Me”, the “worst thing” is that when they finally succeeded in breaking the silence, they made them feel that they had done something bad thing, that they loved each other, ”charges the institution.
She also confessed to being “intrigued” by what she called the “economic conspiracy” of the case, as Gómez was awarded compensation of nearly 60,000 euros when expelled from the center. “This compensation is a slap in the face, it’s something I would have liked to explore further, but no one wants to talk about it.”