James Rhodes, on abuses: "Spain has the opportunity to do something extraordinary" | Society
In the last months, James Rhodes (London, 1975) has put face to the campaign to demand that the government approve a law that protects children in the face of violence. He knows what he's talking about. And the hell that means being raped at six years old. The pianist, who was the victim of the abuses of a teacher, demands legal reforms against pedophilia. This Monday he declared himself "enthusiastic" with the announcement of the Executive in his meeting with the number two of the Vatican on the imprescriptibility of these crimes.
Question. How do you assess that the Government has informed the Church that sexual abuse of minors will not be prescribed?
Answer. I'm excited. It is something wonderful. In August I met with Pedro Sánchez and they promised me that [la Ley de Protección Integral frente a la Violencia contra la Infancia] It would be a priority. People told me they were lying, that it was politicians. But I really believed them. The president looked me in the eyes and told me he had his word. Now it seems that they were talking seriously.
P. What is the most important thing about the ad?
R. The most important thing this Monday is that they have said "enough" to the Church. They can not hide [los casos de abusos]. When we talk about children, we all have to be in the same place. It is essential. It does not matter if the abuses were committed within the Church or in a football club. I am very happy that Carmen Calvo has said this, although there is a great way ahead.
P. What do you ask the political class?
R. My only concern is that the rest of the parties want to delay the approval of the law to take away the political revenue. I can understand these movements if we talk about business, but not when we talk about children. I hope they see that this is a victory for the entire Congress, not only for the PSOE, but for Spain. So I trust that Pablo Casado, Albert Rivera and Pablo Iglesias will support it, because they will not be supporting Sánchez, but the children of Spain. I feel very proud of this country. Abuses are something you do not want to talk about, you keep silent. What happens is that when you shut up you have children being raped and the Church keeping silent.
P. What other issues do you consider essential and that should be included in the law?
R. At this moment the Government is working on a draft. And it has a text prepared by experts that includes, for example, an improvement of the system, which is adapted to the victims, so that children only have to declare once. And better training in schools. It is very important to give more information and more education. It is extremely important. The prescription is also fundamental. And that pedophiles know that they are not safe in Spain, that they will not be protected, that they will be judged, that they will go to prison and that they will serve their sentences. This is what the new law will bring. When this norm is approved, Spain will be the number one country in the world in terms of child safety. It is something that we should all feel very proud of.
P. How are abuses overcome?
R. It is very difficult. It takes a lifetime to overcome this. This law is also an improvement because it means that children are treated with respect. Organizations like Save The Children They have made progress in this regard, with campaigns to raise awareness and support the victims. The important thing is that children are treated with respect. And that organizations like the Catholic Church know that they are not untouchable, that justice is done. Because for many years he has acted without accountability. He has hidden [casos], has paralyzed police investigations. This has to end. Respect for the Catholic Church. What I can not respect is the people who use the power [para ocultar los abusos] and ends up being an accomplice.
P. What advice would you give to the victims?
R. I am not a doctor, nor a therapist. What helped me was finding professional help and talking. It takes a long time and you have to be careful who you talk to about this. It can be a teacher or a therapist.
P. What do victims tell you to contact you?
R. I have received many messages. Hundreds. Many tell me they can not believe what happened to them. Many others say that politicians in Spain say they are going to do something and then do not do it. When this happens [la aprobación de la ley]If it happens, people can start to trust that the government does act. If the children could vote, we would not be having this conversation. But they can not, nor can they spend money. And this results in a lack of respect, not only here, in all countries. Spain has a small opportunity to do something extraordinary. [Si aprobara la ley]It would be a point of reference, an example for the rest of the world.