San Sebastián, September 22 (EFE).- Women who said they suffered sexual abuse in a theater class in Lleida as teenagers found a loudspeaker at the San Sebastián festival this Thursday, where they performed the film “The Yellow Roof” out of competition. A documentary by Isabel Coixet that collects their stories.

At the time of the events, they were 13, 14 or 15 years old and did not realize that they were victims of a system of “manipulation by seduction”, as they explain in the documentary. When they finally dared to go to court, in 2018, the case had foreseen.

Her abusers were two teachers at the center, one of whom, Antonio Gómez, became the director and was over 30 years old. To his students, he was a “reference”, “transgressive” and “creative” type, whom they deeply admired for his use of manipulation.

Coixet decided to make the documentary after reading an investigation published by the newspaper “Ara” in 2020, as he said at a press conference this Thursday.

“The article gave an idea of ​​powerful voices,” said the Catalan filmmaker, winner of the 2020 National Film Award. “After talking to them for the first time, it seemed incredible to me that it had prescribed: the prosecution admitted the truth of the film. the facts in their writing, but He said that he had prescribed.

The events, which according to the “Ara” report took place over 20 years, although the complaint only covered the period from 2001 to 2008, included highly sexualized lessons involving touching by a teacher who took minors to her. he met them on Sundays or went to the dressing room when they changed.

“He made you feel special because he chose you,” says one of them in the documentary Goretti Narcis, who had sex with him at age 15, thinking he was “the one,” like his other mates (there were nine who reported).

At 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 “the changing history and the social discourse that encourages it, that little by little the abusers feel less free to do so “.

At the same time, they consider it very difficult to reopen the case, because it would require new complaints from a more recent period, and they know how difficult it is to take this step.

“It is a real act of courage to admit that you have suffered abuse,” stressed Sonia Palau. For them, the key has been to go hand in hand. “Our journey together has been healing and we have learned about abuse and sisters.”

“We have to change the mindset when we talk about abuse and victimhood,” added Fuentes, “Isabel has not been sensationalist at all and the media’s responsibility is not to show the image of the grieving because no one wants to identify with that.” .

In this sense, they have been grateful that “The Yellow Roof” does not focus on the harassment they suffered, but on the profile of the abuser, despite Gómez’s refusal to participate in the documentary.

“I think he’s the main character,” Palau noted. “The predator repeats his behavior, Isabel has been able to shift the focus where we wanted it, to her, not to us, because she’s the one who has to feel the shame and the guilt.”

The lack of mechanisms to support these complaints is also criticized. “Some of our colleagues, when they talked to the school, questioned them, they did not understand, there are no tools because people are not trained,” said Palau.

Coixet has said that it was difficult to get hold of the archival material and that they were not given anything from Classroom, everything was “deleted” and the accompanying images were filmed by parents or students with mobile phones.

For the director of such films as “The Secret Life of Words” or “My Life Without Me”, the “worst” is that when they finally managed to break the silence, they felt that they had done something wrong, that they loved. to each other ” is received by the institution.

He has also admitted that he is “intrigued” by the “economic plot” of the case, since Gómez received nearly €60,000 in compensation when he was expelled from the center. “This compensation is a slap in the face, it’s something I would have liked to delve into, but no one wants to talk about things.”

Magdalena Tsani

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