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'Wolf Pack' Survivor Urges Sex Abuse Victims To Speak Out

  • Women protest a court's decision to release the members of La Manada on bail. Madrid. June 22, 2016.

    Women protest a court's decision to release the members of La Manada on bail. Madrid. June 22, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 27 June 2018
Opinion

"Do it however you want, but tell it. Don't remain silent, because if you do you're letting them win," she says in an open letter.

The victim of the group of sexual abusers known as “La Manada” (“The Wolfpack”) sent an open letter to a Spanish TV show, encouraging others who have suffered from similar cases to break their silence and speak out against such abuse and call out the attackers.

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This is the first time the woman, whose name remains undisclosed, has made a public statement since the sentence on La Manada. But the letter wasn't an attack against her abusers, neither the words of a trembling victim, but that of a strong survivor willing to help others in their struggle.

The letter was sent to “The Show of Ana Rosa,” whose presenter opened the show thanking the survivor.

“It moved me as no other letter has done before. Because this woman, from her silence, has turned the streets of Spain into a clamor. She never spoke, we've never seen or listened to her. Today we will know if she feels hate and how she is. We will get to know her deeply. It's a letter, from the victim of La Manada. So, sister, thanks for your words,” said Ana Rosa Quintana, the show's host.

Before this letter, everyone else but the survivor had commented on the case.

This is a translation of the letter:

"From victim to survivor, and then to a brave woman.

Hello everyone:

I suppose this letter, you might suppose, is to tell my version and experience, but it's not that: this is a gratitude letter.

Mom, dad, thanks not only for all the support but for getting strength when you didn't have it and then giving it to me. Thanks for everything you've taught me and for all that you will teach me. But, above everything, for not abandoning me or abandoning yourselves even though you wanted to.

Thanks to my aunts, grandparents and cousins. Thanks for helping me see this is based on family: for always being there, whatever happens.

I also would like to thank my people, my chosen ones, [they are] the best decisions I've made in this life. For supporting me, crying with me, getting mad because my feelings had no sense, for laughing, for making me see that one must share the best and the worst of life, for hating and, above everything, for loving. You lift me up.

I also want to thank every person that has helped me in this path: I wish I never met you, but life is like this and it brings you the best people in the worst moments. And that has a reason. I wish I would have never met you, true friend, but thanks to that now I have an essential person in my life, friend in the struggle. I know we will never forget us.

I would also like to thank every person that, without meeting me, took the streets of Spain and gave me a voice when many wanted to take it away from me. Thanks for not leaving me alone, for believing in me, sisters. Thanks for everything.

From the heart, thanks to everyone who has stopped for a second to talk about me and condemned what happened, to the associations, people in the street, political figures, famous people, journalists that have respected me and in general to anyone who has worried about me.

Thanks for making me feel part of society again, in which it seems if you get raped you must carry the raped sign on the forehead. Thanks for fighting, yelling, crying and supporting this cause.

Last, for me, the most important: speak out. Nobody needs to go through this. Nobody has to regret drinking, speaking with people at a party, going home alone or wearing a mini-skirt. We all don't have to regret the mentality of this society in which this can happen to anyone, I assure you that.

Be careful with what you say, you don't know how many times I've heard talk about “the girl of the sanfermines” without knowing that girl was sitting next to you. And by the way, I'm not “the girl of the sanfermines,” maybe I'm your daughter, granddaughter or friend. So please, think before speaking. Just as we don't joke about diseases, we shouldn't joke about a rape. It's obscene and the change is in our hands.

Please, I'm just asking you to denounce, even though you think they won't believe you. I can assure you the road is not pleasant but, what would've happened if I didn't denounce? Think about it.

It's fine to condemn acts, but we all need to take part in change. Personally, I'm satisfied my case moved somebody's consciousness or gave other people strength to fight.

For every woman, man, and child that is going through something similar: there's an exit. You might think you have no strength left to fight, but you will be surprised about the strength of human beings. Tell a friend, family member, the police, or tweet. Do it however you want, but tell it. Don't remain silent, because if you do you're letting them win."

The victim of Jose Angel Prenda, Angel Boza Florido, Jesus Escudero Dominguez, Alfonso Jesus Cabezuelo and Antonio Manuel Guerrero Escudero, sent the letter days after her attackers were sentenced to nine years in prison and then released on bail.

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