For an hour and a half, Pamela Palenciano (Andújar, Jaen, 1982) takes the stage, in institutes and theaters, and represents 10 characters. She is herself but as a teenager. It is also Antonio, her boyfriend at the time, when she becomes affectionate and when she loses her nerves. She is her best friend, Maite, the only one who has changed her name, and the rest of her colleagues who witnessed a case of macho violence that they didn’t know how to see almost until the end, when Antonio tried to kill her. And he began to understand years later, when his psychologist Maria Carmen said: “Not only do the pains hurt.” That’s just the title of his performance, in which he began working 16 years ago and with which he has more than 7,000 representations especially in front of high school students, some of them in Murcia before the controversy of the parental veto. It is always an uncomfortable text, but now, in addition, it is the object of attacks by students – “creatures of Vox”, she calls them – and the target of criticism in social networks. Official Vox accounts upload extracts cut from the monologue, which the far-right party defines as “bullshit.” They have turned it into an example of what can be censored with the veto applied by the Region of Murcia: “Never again will they progress freely through the classrooms. They can never indoctrinate our children in bullshit like this.” Palenciano says that they have denounced her twice for “child abuse”, both filed, and that there is no day that she does not have a “threatening” message from Vox or “her supporters”. He has hired a lawyer.
Question. What does he talk about in his monologue?
Reply. The monologue Not only does the pain hurt part of the need to tell my story about sexist violence, a pretext to analyze the system of inequality not only between men and women but in the world, focused on preventing violence in general and especially among young people. I’ve been with the project for 16 years. It started as a photo exhibition, a workshop and now the representation. I count the relationship with Antonio, with whom I started at age 12.
P. Since when did the Vox appointment on the networks?
R. I’ve been a whole year in which every day I receive messages from Vox supporters in networks in the form of threats and profanity. I am in all your networks. In the classrooms I cross every day with Vox creatures who see the monologue and challenge it. Boys stir more than girls. They start to move, to talk to each other, to make weird faces. They call me feminaziPodemite indoctrinator. They tell me things like: “My uncle has told me that an aunt would come to indoctrinate us.” When I ask questions, they reply that the monologue is loaded with ideology, which is more neutral. Everything has ideology. I am a feminist and I focus on human rights. In Teruel a kid told me that my performance was an ideology of what was happening in Venezuela.
P. Are these reactions in the institutes new?
R. It is super new. There is always the boy who is uncomfortable with machismo, who feels that I am talking about what he is. Now that has speech. It started strong for a year and a half, since Vox entered the Parliament of Andalusia. I noticed it overnight when they arrived at the institutions. Before it was more content, now more normalized. Some teach me Vox and Spain bracelets and take my finger [le hacen la peineta].
P. How does the rest of the students receive their monologue?
R. It is a wonder. The kids drop the bandage. Some react in plan: “What you are telling is happening to me, I have passed it and now I can name it.” The boys feel uncomfortable at first, but then they see that criticism it’s to hegemonic masculinity, not men. And they loosen up. His majority response is: “I don’t want to be the monologue”. But even if there are 5 or 10 Vox, even if they are small, they break the space. They make so much noise that I have to stop the work to tell them to shut up. From these last episodes, I will tell you that if you do not want to be out. I don’t want them to be forced if they don’t want to. Mine is not a doctrine. I also suffer a boycott of some teachers who will complain to the principal after the monologue. Some sit with the bad things and don’t scold them, they don’t tell them anything if they let go of bad words. There are also Vox teachers teaching.
P. Do the comments they make from this game influence the networks about you in your work?
R. They influence all day. I have peaks of anxiety about having to go to work with fear to see what can happen, if there is going to be an escrache, if I am not going to be able to act because the parents complain. In Rivas Vaciamadrid there was a complaint to the management and the educational inspector came to check who I was. In the end I made the monologue, but the inspector was there because there was a complaint from fathers and mothers. When he saw that it was an educational and artistic activity to prevent violence, he said he could not cancel the activity.
P. Do you say you go to high schools with fear?
R. Yes, and it is not fair to educate with fear. My story is already quite scary, remember it again and again. I keep doing it because I have taken it as a life mission. But I don’t want to do it with fear. I am not doing anything wrong, I talk about what happened to me and I analyze the inequality. What happened to me is not isolated. We live in a free country with democracy. I came from El Salvador fleeing situations of risk of violence, seeking freedom, and see how I am now. A friend of mine said these days in networks: “If something happens to Pamela Palenciano, we hold Vox responsible.” My lawyer reassures me.
P. Do you have a lawyer for this matter?
R. We met last year. Her name is Laia Serra and she is an expert in harassment and violence towards feminist activists. I was looking for someone to support me for being a human rights activist and feminist. I feel very safe with her. I have other advisors who help me. And I’m going to look for an actor lawyer, to see how to defend myself from a political party that censures me for acting as an actress, to have a strategy and not be caught off guard.
P. Have you considered stopping doing the monologue?
R. Have I ever thought about it, yes. I see that it is necessary for the young people who write to me every day to follow, and for people around me who support me a lot. I have lows due to the fatigue of having to face these things. The monologue is already hard because it is autobiographical. I would like not to have to deal with all this, which surpasses me. I want to go to work without fear and do my best work, like everyone else. I will continue for myself and for the rest of the companions who are also in the spotlight of the parental pin.