October 7, 2022

Isabel Coixet portrays the sexual abuser’s methods in “The Yellow Roof”

San Sebastián, Sept. 22 (EFE).- The women who reported being sexually assaulted as teenagers in Lleida’s theater class found a loudspeaker at the San Sebastián festival this Thursday, where they, out of competition, “The Yellow Roof” presented. a documentary by Isabel Coixet that collects their stories.

When the events took place, they were 13, 14 or 15 years old and could not understand that they were falling victim to a system of “tampering through seduction”, as they explain in the documentary. When they finally dared to go to court in 2018, the case was time-barred.

His abusers were two teachers from the center, one of them, Antonio Gómez, became a principal and was over 30. To his students, he was a “reference”, a “transgressive” and “creative” type for whom they felt a deep admiration which he manipulated them.

Coixet decided to make the documentary after reading the research published in 2020 by the newspaper “Ara”, he told a press conference on Thursday.

“The article gave a glimpse of powerful voices,” said the Catalan filmmaker, winner of the National Film Award 2020. “After speaking with them for the first time, it seemed incredible to me that it had prescribed: the prosecution recognized the truth of the facts in their writing, but He said He had prescribed it.

The events, which took place over 20 years, according to “Ara”‘s report, although the complaint only covered the period between 2001 and 2008, included highly sexualized classes, with moving classes attended by the teacher, who took the minors to his home, he said. met them on Sunday or went to the locker 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 the age of 15 and thought she was “the only one,” like others of his. her companions (there were nine who reported).

At the press conference, Marta Pachón explained that the reason for showing up is to encourage “those who do not speak out”, and Miriam Fuentes added that it is about “that we change the history and the social discourse that this promotes, that little by little the abusers feel less free to do it ».

However, they find 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 make the move.

“The real act of courage is to recognize that you have been abused,” Sonia Palau emphasized. For them, the key has been to go hand in hand. “Our journey together has been healing and we have learned about abuse and about sisterhood.”

“We have to change the chip when we talk about abuse and victimization,” Fuentes added, “Isabel has not been sensational at all and it is the responsibility of the media not to show a picture of a grieving person, because nobody wants to get involved with that.” identify.”

In this sense, they have appreciated that “The Yellow Roof” does not focus on the bullying they have endured, but on the profile of the abuser, despite the fact that Gómez refused to participate in the documentary.

“I think he’s the main character,” Palau noted. “The predator repeats its behavior. Isabel has been able to put the focus where we wanted, on him, not on us, because he is the one who needs to feel shame and guilt.”

The lack of mechanisms to support these complaints has also been criticized. “Some of our colleagues, when they spoke to the school, they questioned, they didn’t understand, there are no resources because people are not educated,” Palau said.

Coixet has said it was difficult to obtain archival material and nothing was provided from the classroom, everything was “erased” and the footage was filmed by parents or students using cell phones.

For the director of movies like “The Secret Life of Words” or “My Life Without Me,” the “worst thing” is that when they finally managed to break the silence, they made them feel like they’d done something wrong, that they loved each other, sue the institution.

She has also confessed to being “intrigued” by what she called the “economic plot” of the case, as Gómez received nearly €60,000 in damages when he was evicted from the center. “That compensation is a slap in the face, it’s something I would have loved to delve into, but nobody wants to talk about things.”

Magdalena Tsanis

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