December 4, 2020

The lack of protection for minors who are victims of sexual assault



To His Excellencies and Illustrious Judges of the Second Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court:

I am preparing this writing because of the need to express in first person some extremely serious events that occur daily in our country, such as sexual crimes against minors, so that you and society know our situation, as well as the great destructive impact that has a crime of this type in our lives, since they not only condition the victims forever, but also the rest of the family.

My brother was the victim of a sexual assault as a minor. Twelve years ago he stopped laughing. In all this time, he has lost social skills by being unable to look people who speak to him in the face. He barely has contact with people his own age and spends time indoors. He has lost weight significantly, he has transformed his way of dressing in dark clothes to be as inconspicuous as possible. All this has contributed to poor academic performance, not being able to develop as a person of his age, not living with the environment and the society that surrounds him. In short, to be lost to the point of falling into a deep depression and presenting a post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some time after the assault, he began to have thoughts of leaving this world, even buying the rope to do so. Everything that happened has created such an impact that it has not only transformed his life but that of the whole family, which has been drastically conditioned by all this. My mother has had to go to a specialist doctor to help her manage this process due to the anxiety it generates, and I have completely conditioned my life to help her.

In my brother’s case, the criminal acts were caused by a sports activities monitor who is in constant and permanent contact with young people. We know and are reliably aware that he has not been the only victim. This person took advantage of his superior status as a monitor and of my brother’s personal circumstances of vulnerability to bend his will, threatening that if he did not let himself, he would tell my whole family to humiliate him. These acts caused different injuries and physical injuries.

From that there are also some inherent and serious mental sequelae and only his story as evidence. This story is marked by the great mental and physical breakdown associated with this event, which is the greatest of traumas according to experts. This causes the brain to erase moments, details, as well as the temporary loss of consciousness of what happened, producing certain inconsistencies in its speech.

When he told me what happened eight years ago, my priority has been to help him recover and encourage him to seek justice, without revenge, with the tools that the rule of law offers us. But all this we cannot achieve with the sole help of family members. The State with all its instruments must support and protect the victims of such terrible events.

Finally, last year, he decided that he was prepared to face the process, with all the toughness that goes with it. Expertise, statements, face what they will say in the town where we live. I am really proud of his courage, despite the uncertainty we have because, having happened 12 years ago, we do not have physical evidence, only his testimony and the mental consequences that he suffers as a result of the attack. After seeing the recent sentence of the professor at the Colegio de Gaztelueta, we are filled with a deep feeling of vulnerability, insecurity and uncertainty, since being victims of such a traumatic crime, we do not have the peace of mind that the rule of law is with us. At the moment we feel like a ship adrift with a large waterway and Salvamento Marítimo winks at him but continues on its way, without stopping to provide the help we need to stay afloat.

The state of post-traumatic shock that my brother suffered after the sexual assault, blocked him and generated a deep feeling of guilt that still carries on. The latter, according to experts, is normal in these cases and makes him act differently in the story and in his actions. Thanks to Sex crimes investigation training manual I have been able to learn about many of the prejudices that I myself had on the matter and that are normal in the victims, such as the fact of not being able to tell it, forgetting details, meeting the aggressor again in the face of the vulnerability and total defenselessness of the victim, etc.

During all this time, with a lot of effort, I have had to adapt my way of seeing things to understand the process he is going through and what he feels. This has made me see that specific training is elementary to understand the victim, learn and understand the nature of the process, the crime, the mental state of the victim and why he acts like this. All this makes us see that the perception of the nature of these crimes is not integral on the part of the Supreme Court, because they demand from the victims a logic in the behavior and action of people without trauma.

With these types of sentences, I consider that the message that is sent to society is not the correct one: that of the impunity of those who commit the crime and that of the total lack of protection for the victim. We cannot demand that the victim of a stabbing go to court first and then to the hospital, first they have to stop the bleeding, heal their wounds, recover and then go to court, with their scars.

Thanks for reading me.

Sincerely, a committed family member.

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