SAN SEBASTIAN, September 22 (EFE).- Women who were sexually assaulted in Lleida theater classrooms as teenagers found a loudspeaker this Thursday at the San Sebastian Festival, where they presented, out of competition, “Yellow Roof”. A documentary by Isabelle Coixet that collects their stories.
When the incidents happened, they were 13, 14 or 15 years old and were unable to understand that they were being subjected to a method of “manipulation through seduction”, as they explain in the documentary. When they finally dared to go to court in 2018, the case was ordered.
Her abusers were two teachers at the center, one of them, Antonio Gomez, turned director and over 30 years old. For his students he was a “reference”, a “criminal” and “creative” type for whom they felt deep admiration as he manipulated them.
Coixet decided to make the documentary after reading the investigation published by the “Ara” newspaper in 2020, as he said in a press conference this Thursday.
“The article gave a glimpse of powerful voices,” said the Catalan filmmaker, winner of the 2020 National Film Prize. “After talking to them for the first time, it seemed incredible to me that it was determined: the prosecution admitted the truth. Although there is information in their writings, he says that he prescribed.
According to “Ara” reports, the incidents took place over a period of more than 20 years, although the complaint only covers the period between 2001 and 2008, and included highly sexualized classes, in which the touching teacher participated, who took the minors to his home. , he visits them on Sundays or he goes to the locker room when they change.
“He made you feel special because he chose you,” says one of them in the documentary, Goretti Narcisse, who had sex with him when he was 15, thinking he was “the only one” like his other partners (there were nine who reported). .
At the press conference, Marta Pachon explained that the reason for showing up was to encourage “those who didn’t dare to speak out” and Miriam Fuentes added that it was “we are changing history and the social discourse that promotes it, slowly abusers feel less free to do so.” ».
However, they find it very difficult to reopen the case because it would require fresh allegations from a more recent time and they know how difficult it is to take action.
“The real act of courage is admitting you’ve been abused,” Sonia Palau insists. The key for them was to go hand in hand. “Our journey together has been healing and we’ve learned about abuse and sisterhood.”
“We need to change the chip when talking about abuse and victimization,” Fuentes added, “Isabel was not sensationalized at all and it is the responsibility of the media not to show a picture of someone mourning because no one wants to be identified with it.”
In this sense, they appreciated that “Yellow Roof” does not focus on the harassment they suffered, but on the profile of the abuser, although Gómez refused to participate in the documentary.
“I think he’s the hero,” Palau noted. “By the hunter repeating his behavior, Isabelle was able to focus where we wanted, on her, not on us, because she’s the one who has to feel shame and guilt.”
The lack of measures to support these allegations is also criticized. “Some of our colleagues, when they talked to the schools, they asked them questions, they didn’t understand, there is no equipment because people are not trained,” Palau said.
Coixet said that archival material was difficult to find and that nothing was provided from the classroom, everything was “deleted” and the images included were shot on parents’ or students’ mobile phones.
The “worst” thing for the director of films like “The Secret Life of Words” or “My Life Without Me” is that when they finally managed to break the silence, they felt that they had done something wrong, that they loved each other. Institution charges.
He also admitted to being “intrigued” by what he called an “economic intrigue” in the case, as Gomez received around 60,000 euros in compensation when he was expelled from the center. “This compensation is a slap in the face, it’s something I would love to explore, but no one wants to talk about.”