By Linda Hall • 26 August 2023 • 14:33
LUIS RUBIALES: Spain’s football chief celebrates women’s World Cup triumph
Photo credit: casareal.es
THE kiss was surprising and uncomfortable to watch.
An unsolicited kiss where a man grasps a young woman’s head with both hands is not consensual just because he says it is, as Luis Rubiales, president of Spain’s football association, calmly maintains.
No matter that La Roja footballer Jenni Hermoso said very soon afterwards that she “did not like it.” As far as Rubiales was concerned, she did not need to like it.
Equally unforgivable while celebrating an outstanding achievement by women footballers who had just won the World Cup, was Rubiales’ dinosaur gesture, typical of your classic macho iberico, as he proudly clutched his crotch.
My cojones are bigger than yours, Rubiales was declaring, arrogantly linking his self-proclaimed virility to the women’s triumph.
The fact that he also did this a couple of metres away from Queen Letizia and the Infanta Sofia outraged many who saw less to criticise in the kiss.
Would this have happened when I first came to Spain to live in the late 1960s?
Men routinely took advantage of girls and women more than half a century ago but, unlike Jenni Hermosoto, they were not given the opportunity to say that they did not like or invite their attentions.
Attitudes were slowly changing, but men called the shots and there was nowhere, apart from the police, where a young woman could report harassment, let alone rape.
Which reminds me of something that has haunted me for more than 50 years.
We were living at that time in an apartment on Benidorm’s Avenida del Mediterraneo which was surrounded on three sides by waste land and olive groves although the hotels and apartment blocks which eventually filled every square metre of unbuilt land were just beginning to leave the drawing board.
Very late one night I was woken by a girl’s screams. She screamed and she screamed and she screamed while my husband snored beside me Our baby didn’t stir in her cot but I heard this girl continue to scream and did nothing about it.
Today I would reach for my mobile and call the emergency services and I believe they would do something about it, because I am as sure as I can be that I heard a rape victim.
But this was more than 50 years ago, the screams stopped and I went back to sleep although I have never forgotten them. When I told my husband about it next morning, he merely shrugged.
Women in Spain still get a raw deal in some respects. They often earn less than a man doing a same job, they are still the victims of sexist violence and because some things never change, they are still subjected to treatment which men Rubiales cannot recognise as harassment or aggression.
There are laws – even the hastily-prepared and botched “Only yes means yes” law – that protect women now, giving them a voice they are no longer afraid to raise. Instead of remonstrating in the modulated tones that men expected to hear half a century ago, they are prepared to shout long and loud and they make sure they are heard.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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