April 20, 2021

"The victim always feels guilty" | sports

"The victim always feels guilty" | sports

Late in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. E. and P. and their sister, happy teenagers, walk and enjoy and talk freely, without weight in the conscience, for the Plaza de España and the Marina gardens. E. and P. have denounced sexual abuse of his athletic trainer, Miguel Ángel Millán, the man who filled his adolescence with dreams of Olympic glory, and against him they have testified in a trial already seen for sentence and in which the Prosecutor's Office and the private prosecution ask him 18 and 21 years in prison, respectively. From the terrace of a cafeteria, next to the park, around a table, they are observed by those who suffered at the hands of the same person and were silenced 35 years ago and more. There are six men already made and rights, parents, around 50 all, who have come from Alhama de Murcia to testify, to denounce, what at the time they were silent, their parents were silent, the authorities were silent. They try, speaking in a group, to unburden themselves of the weight of silence. As a therapy session.

They want their names and surnames to be known as when they were or wanted to be trained and tormented athletes by Millán, and some really touched the Olympic glory. They are Francisco Toledo, Ginés Ramírez, Alonso Sánchez, Ginés Hidalgo, still, since 1992, national record holder under-18 decathlon with absolute weights and fences since August 92, Javier Gómez Cala y Antonio Peñalver, the Olympic runner-up. They had not seen each other for years. They had never told each other that they had suffered the same. In court, Millán's lawyers have asked them suspiciously if they have not agreed to declare the same thing … "What do you agree, what do you agree", they respond, "as if someone had to tell me what we went through … "

Elisa, the mother, of E., the woman who battled and did not stop until her denunciations were taken into account, she accompanies them, she thanks them for her help, she tells her experience. He looks at his son and his friends and smiles with a certain sadness. "The important thing is that they do not take away that almost childlike joy," he says. There is also Dani, who has not yet turned 30 and was an athlete of Millán and also tells that he suffered abuses in Tenerife more than 10 years ago, and talks about the difficulty of not only denouncing, what he tried when the case of Gloria Visors arose , the gymnast who denounced Jesús Carballo, but who believes who he denounces, the loneliness of the victim.

They are three generations

Peñalver and Elisa, the mother of E.
Peñalver and Elisa, the mother of E.

Antonio Peñalver Unfortunately this has served so that people who were 27 years absolutely isolated from each other, by secrecy, by guilt, by shame, we resume our relationship to help each other to overcome what happened in those childhood years and the aftermath that he has had in each of us for the past 25-30 years. We have taken up a relationship of friends that in many cases, mine for example, had been impossible. I have been unable to maintain a healthy friendship relationship with anyone for many traumas, for many stories

Francisco Toledo. It is painful to have to relive something that intermittently has always been in our lives and now with a very strong intensity. For me it has not been easy, but if you have a little empathy with others …. I did not want to leave other victims alone, just as it happened to us.

Ginés Ramírez. We have to finish a job that we did not do in his day, which is what we weighed the most. Perhaps this trial should have been 30 years ago or 35 in Murcia and there would be no other people involved.

Ginés Hidalgo. What less to give our support and to serve us, not only us, who can serve us, but other kids who could go through the same situation with this sexual predator and other kids with another, and that serves them to that does not happen to them and if it happens to them so that they give the face?

A.P. I have followed my whole life in athletics, except for an intermediate period dedicated to politics [fue director general de Deportes de la Comunidad Autónoma de Murcia], first as an athlete, and now, for three years, as a coach, and the problem is that I'm still living it, I keep living it and remembering every time I saw it, but thinking that this could not happen again, that the thing was controlled. And, although the doubt was always there, the host was very big when they called me from Tenerife …

Alonso Sánchez I had no doubt that it would continue to happen anywhere. After what happened in Alhama, I do not know if hundreds of cases because we have talked about it and evidently there are many more cases, and of previous generations, how are you going to think that such a person, who also emerges unscathed from Alhama, from Has he soon rejoined society? I had the certainty that it would continue.

Javier Gómez. I have had a feeling of anger, but not, as would be logical, against Michelangelo, but, against me when I knew that this had happened again here, against me and against us … The best thing about this case is having met Elisa , the key person in this story, I feel a mindundi compared to her. Neither I particularly nor all together were able to do what this woman did alone. And this is what I wear pretty badly. I feel anger towards me, being a victim and knowledgeable of the cases, for not being able to do anything compared to the mother of E. She alone has done what an entire town was not able to do. And this is what I have between very bad and worse.

Millán, during the trial.
Millán, during the trial.

A. P. In the 90's I was not able to understand what was happening …

F.T. That happened to all of us.

A.P. I only went much later, when I was at least 30 years old, more or less aware of the seriousness of the events and that it was also a crime that deserved punishment. At that time I tried to do something, but I did not see the way … Not too embarrassed to say it, I was not aware, either at the time, because of the damage, because of the shock it caused me, I do not know … I just know that there were elderly people, responsible, supposedly, who were managing that. I do not know any more…

G.H. The feeling is of anger, anger-guilt towards oneself, for that reason, for not knowing how to react in its moment or afterwards. But also that rage goes against people who then, at that time, had knowledge of certain things and in spite of that they have continued to keep him and give him the possibility of being close to athletes and children.

Dani Before the trial we have not shared the experiences too much nor have we talked with each other about what has happened to each one of us. And the trial has become an emotionally very strong experience at the individual and collective level, in a catharsis. It is the second chapter of a very fat nightmare that began with the dismissal of the case in the XXI century, in 2016 [la primera denuncia de Elisa y Eduardo, en junio de 2016, fue archivada por la juez, que no veía indicios suficientes para investigar a Millán]. The way in which the complaint was treated and that it was shelved in a case that has been demonstrated, is being demonstrated, that is absolutely massive, invasive, aggressive and I do not know what qualification to put it, the fact that the affected people have The paved road is very remarkable. It was shelved and this person was still coaching the kids. I think it's a scandal. Society in the 80s saw it as normal and did not denounce it, nor say anything. It was the Spain of the 80s, yes, but it still happens in the 2000s …

F. T. If I still think about it when it comes to taking a picture … I am 50 years old and, in the end, it gives me a little stick to leave like this in EL PAÍS … And I am 50 years old, 50. Today this It's still a bit of a mess.

Millán, bald and mustached, in the mid-eighties with the children he trained in Alhama.
Millán, bald and mustached, in the mid-eighties with the children he trained in Alhama.

A.P. There was the mistake of people who did it wrong, and they did it wrong with the knowledge of what happened. First they camouflage something, then you give the opportunity for others to live the same again.

J.G. And not only in the sporting part. This uncle was a teacher, and there comes a time when someone in Education signs a transfer, and they send the fox to another chicken coop. Someone made that decision.

G.H. He was a notorious teacher thanks to the myth of the Olympiad. It becomes an unusual figure that accesses spheres out of the ordinary. Of course there was someone who gave an order.

F.T. I was 24 years old and I lived this … And I think about it now and I tell myself that if I had been one of those guys … It did not have to be easy. Less than three months before, Antonio and Miguel Ángel were on the balcony of the town hall, acclaimed all over the world. They were the kings of the mambo, Superman, they were everything. And nothing, then someone has to think, jopé, have we been Alhama the envy of the whole world and now we are going to turn it into a pigsty? And somehow I understand that it did not have to be easy. But it is also true that the decisions of powerful people are made in complicated conditions. How easy we all would have decided.

A.P. We did not give a shit. I was an accident, I was an accident. The normal thing was that the episodes, either psychologically or physically, would have hurt you so much that you left and left the athletics. What happens is that I, for whatever reason, for whatever reason, endured, and suddenly I became an important value … [Peñalver sufrió los abusos cuando tenía 14 y 15 años, pero siguió entrenando con Millán] After a year or a year and a half of not listening to me and talking to us, he said, come on, let's train. Why? Because … look, I would think, the fool who is still here after all that I have done to him, it seems that he does not get hurt … And on top of that I became his way of life and his glory. He got me a contract for a lot of pasta, which he always denied … He would spend his life in the bush and we would train alone at the expense of the contract he had made with me. And when he got that contract, we went back to the same story, to the inhumane treatment, but once again Antonio's tonics endured cars and carts, that's as simple as that.

ACE. There is a lot of responsibility on the part of the authorities, who did not act well, but we also have to look at ourselves … The victim is the most complicated. Speaking costs a lot. And there is another thing, parents. Then, he did not want to report any. There is an emotional component of personal and family pain and not wanting to harm children because we live in a small nucleus, we all know each other, and a very stale society in which anything that has to do with sex is taboo. Imagine that your son has also been touched by a man. All this must also be taken into account.

G.R. But, you know what's up, I, who was 24 years old then [en diciembre del 92, cuando todo estalló], I can not blame my father, who did not denounce … 24 years? I, for whatever reason, if I had gone to the police and I say this and this, it does not matter what the mayor does, what Odriozola does, what anyone does. Something would have happened there, at least, but we did not.

A.P. I, at 24, for this purpose, was still the 14-year-old boy who was not able to move a finger without thinking, will this be fine?

G.R. There I go, I'm going to that his manipulation lasted from the 13 years ours until the twenties.

G.H. Our parents had a retrograde mentality in that aspect, and they did not want their son to go out anywhere because of what he thought of the son, what he supposed and assumed to the family, and what they would say …

The story of Elisa

Elisa. I thought that E. had a difficult adolescence. It was closed, he did not like to go out much … but I never related it at all with anything that had the least to do with sexual abuse, honestly. One night, four years after suffering, E. told me, "Mom, I do not know if you will have stomach to hear what I'm going to say …" He told me six months after he told some colleagues. "Do you remember Miguel?" Miguel? "Miguel, my coach …" And at that moment … He did not need to tell me more, I was lit a lot of lights, neural connections. I knew it was not good, the beginning of a process of sleepless nights, guilt, desire for revenge, but primitive revenge … I thought of terrible things, yes, but once that part was rationalized, I said to myself, Let's be practical and take this as a serious job. And if he has been smart enough to develop it for the bad part, we are going to be smart enough to do it for the good part, to see if it can … But it's costing us … There have also been many people supporting, collaborating …

D. But after dismissing the case … The case was shelved.

AND. When they filed it, and I saw the prosecutor's brief, "seen", I said, but … Because at that time we were not aware. It was already known that there could be more. The case of the other boy, P., who finally denounced here seemed like it could be, but we did not have the certainty of any. But I know I thought, because there is no other case we will not have the right to justice? Is that if you do not always carry the lose. Is it that an isolated case does not deserve to be judged, analyzed? But it was not an isolated case, anyway. It began to move all the machinery and establish connections. I feel a little on behalf of all the mothers and all the parents who could not do anything because of the circumstances. I'm with my son and I'm with everyone.

G.H. We all have words of praise for you, and if my mother lived I would be very grateful, and I would think that it should have been her, for sure. The same did not have the courage, did not have the support, whatever. I would be eternally grateful.

A.P. Before the husband made the decisions, but the mothers would have been more determined. In a town, society is still macho today, that is 30 years ago even more. The most important thing was the moment in which it happened, a few months after the glory of '92. How are you going to be the one who spits the myth of the people with spit? And the fear of being pointed out. My father still thought this weekend that, jolín, what was going to come out here. The parents did not report for fear of hurting their children because of the social context. The few parents who wanted to complain convinced them not to do anything. Were there any of the people who found out that they encouraged us to denounce? Who? Upside down. They told us, you have everything lost, nobody will listen to you, do not denounce, you will do more harm …

AND. The first thing they told me when I presented the first complaint, the one they filed, was that Millán did not have any background. It was as if they said, we started badly, the defendant has no background and is almost 70 years old … After denouncing and seeing it materialized, and following the provisional prison also, E. all digestive problems were passed on to him. he had (he had been tested for lactose intolerance, colonoscopies). The issue of pretrial detention is, above all, very important. My son used to tell me that he was walking down the street and only thinking that he had to see … Just seeing someone half-like crossed the sidewalk of the great force that exerted on him, the fear that caused him. And he is also convinced that reporting is what had to be done. And when you have that conviction your body reacts. I totally trusted Millán during the time he trained E., but after my son told me, I had no doubt, and I appreciate that lucidity. He kept the secret for months. You have no stomach, oh, my mother. And it was all little by little. When you feel like talking, you tell me … Do you feel like it? Mom … We mothers are heavy, yes, I know, but that's what it touches. You, when you feel like talking … And do you feel like it now?

F.T. I have three children. The oldest one lives outside Spain, in a boarding school for girls, and I want to think that nothing happens. The little one, who is 13 years old and does basketball and athletics, now when this has happened I have sat down to talk with him. I talked to him and I told him what happened to us, what happened to me, I tried to put him in the background, because at 13 he is already aware of what can happen, which nobody did with us. I spoke with my son Pepe one day we were walking there and we passed by Fuente Blanca [la casa de campo a la que iban a dormir en colchonetas cuando iban de excursión los fines de semana a Sierra Espuña y donde Millán abusaba de ellos]. Look, Pepe, I'm going to tell you something that happened to me in that house … I decorated it a bit. Yes, I told him. The goal is to be forewarned.

ACE. This is what it should be but it is not. Look at the work that has cost us to pay attention to a boy who denounced … Some progress has been made but the truth is that not so much. Who goes to his father and says, look, is this happening to me? With the sense of guilt that is something universal and that is maintained over time. The victim believes he is guilty and makes you feel guilty. It does not matter whether it is gender violence or sexual abuse of any kind …

J.G. I told my father what had happened, why I had stopped going to the Sierra to Millán's excursions, because my father got angry with me, you no longer go up into the mountains and you go partying … and how I was going to tell my father I do not go to the mountains because this son of a bitch touches me the picha …, and I stayed to train alone in Alhama. And when I sit in front of my father and explain it to him, well, my father took a hoe and his intention was, because I live 100 meters from his house, it was going to open his head. I convince him not to and I'm going to talk to that man, and he apologized for being active and passive, crying, he and his wife, both of them, crying and apologizing, and, of course, when I think of it I told them that I had told my father, the crying was cut off by the roots, and I wanted my father to talk to him. But how is my father going to talk to you? If my father comes here, he kills you … My father was playing petanque a little bit further and just watching to see if I left this man's house, the son of a bitch … And I was there and when I left I went straight to find my father bowling. Dad, he wants to talk to you … My father came into his house wanting to kill him and left there crying with me, and with him and his wife … We left the four crying. I was 15 years old.

F.T. I have not met anyone with that capacity for manipulation. What happens is that that ability used it only for this.

The story of Dani

D. Millán met me in Zaragoza, where I went to see my friend Ruymán in a competition, and he signed me. He began to train me remotely e-mail a time and for messenger, and got me to come here. He came to my mother's house, on the peninsula, and I remember as if it were right now. He sat on the couch and started. Because the potential that your son has is tremendous, and because such and such … And got me to come to Tenerife, and I was surprised that my parents said no at first, because my parents had never been much with me due to circumstances of the lifetime. But he convinced my mother, and when he left home it's as if I already had the plane tickets bought, and I came here. Come here with a group of friends, among them my best friend, Ruymán, to a beautiful experience and to do sports and to study, and everything was jauja, to end up practically not wanting almost to live by the oppression and loneliness that you feel when you are 3,000 kilometers from your house and you realize that you were not good at athletics or hosts. It was all a whim of a predator. And I ended up totally isolated, without self-esteem, lost. And only with the years do you learn to understand that all this affected me in everything, in personal relationships, in decisions, in I do not know why I chose the career I chose, I do not know why … Many, many, many things, to the point of not having seen or spoken in 10 years with many, many people.

And they all chant: "That we could all sign it. It is a monster, a monster. "


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