It was a rainy Wednesday. Woke up at the same hour and did not change a thing of my usual routine. However, without knowing beforehand my routine changed by itself. I had been asked to travel to a town in the middle of nowhere and check if a concrete man required any sort of bureaucratic procedures. Thus, all the information I needed was lying in a folder on my desk. I was short of time to study the case so I grabbed my purse and rushed to the car. Minutes before reaching my destination I decided to have a look at the info. At first everything seemed normal but after a few lines I was paralyzed. The speed of the beats of my heart was highly increased while the driver urged me to leave the car. Opened the door and as my first foot touched the ground I felt like escaping. “Be professional, be professional”. Those were the constant words in my mind. 3 deep breaths and entered the building.
At the reception, I showed my ID and a special permit of the office explaining the reason of my visit. I was given a white card in order to open the three doors on my way to the waiting area. There, I sat and my legs starting shivering. An inner voice inside myself could only repeat: Violation. Then, my name was called. A polite policeman took me to a locker where I could leave my things. Afterwards, he walked me through a long corridor to a special room. Filled myself with bravery and entered. It was a rather a mournful place. Grey walls. Small window covered with bars and a table with two chairs. I sat and prepared all my papers while I waited. Suddenly, the door opened and a short and quite chubby man entered the room. He was wearing navy blue pants and shirt. I stood up and reached out his hands while he said hello with a smile. Then, our eyes met. I felt a shudder down the spine. We both took a seat and the meeting had just begun. There I was, in front of him. I was in front of a monster and I had to be professional. How could I behave facing someone who had raped a minor? “2 years”- he said – “2 years and my sentence is over. 2 years to gain liberty again and leave this prison”. I would have slapped him on the face if only I could. He had no remorse and I could feel it. I could feel everything. His penetrating eyes wanted to intimidate me. I could feel how he stared at my neck and it hurt as if he was scratching it. He examined my body and made me feel like an object. I felt nude and unprotected. I thought of the little girl and for a moment I felt as threaten as her. I wanted to run away so badly. My fingers could not stop turning sheets of paper while I wrote all the necessary information. I finished as fast as I could and again reached his hand to say goodbye. Left the room, grabbed my things in the locker and abandoned the building. I could not feel dizzier. I wanted to vomit and my hand… my hand was burning after touching a monster.
Many of you might think this is just an invented story. It is not. My summer internship offered me the opportunity of being with a rapist. It was an experience I will never forget about. Nevertheless, I felt and still feel insulted as a woman. Can someone please change this situation? How is it possible for a person who has taken away the tranquillity of a woman for the rest of her life to leave prison in 4 years? Does the value of a woman is just that? I think society needs to do something about it. We all need to do something about it. I am sharing this experience with you as a first step in this fight against violation. I am raising my voice. Will you join me?
By: Celia de la Hoz