Lucia lives a long ordeal. After reporting sexual abuse to her superior in the Navy, this former sailor had to fight another battle: to get Justice to attend to her claim and take the aggressor to the bench. Last month, and justified by the complications of the pandemic, a new postponement of the court that follows his case had delayed the hearings to 2024. Finally, now Lucía has managed to get the trial start in august this year.
The woman, now 32 years old, was 25 at the time the events occurred. Lucía denounced having been sexually abused within a division of the Argentine Navy in Ushuaia by NCO Reinaldo Cardozo, 56 years old.
As a consequence of the abuses, the former sailor lost her job, the house, social coverage and had to undergo psychiatric and psychological treatment to overcome what happened.
“Women in the Navy are tied hand and foot and gagged. Even more so by not having a hierarchy. You cannot complain or claim anything. You have no rights”, Lucia had said in an interview with Clarion in 2016, in which she recounted the harassment and abuse situations of which she was a victim.
The Criminal Trial Court of the Fuegian capital had set a first date for the start of the hearings for June 29, 2020, although later the process was suspended due to the sanitary restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic.
Later, the judges Alejandro Pagano Zavalía, Maximiliano García Arpón and Rodolfo Bembihy Videla resolved a new postponement, but until May 16, 2024.
The public request made by “Lucía”, as the victim identifies herself to the media, achieved in recent days that Justice will review that position and establish the date of the trial on August 18 at 9, confirmed the judicial spokesmen consulted.
“My life is going by waiting for Justice”Lucia had said when this new delay was known, which set the trial at 11 years from the date the reported abuses took place. Due to the repercussion that this measure had, the victim managed to get the Justice of Tierra del Fuego ahead for this year the oral trial which had initially been postponed until 2024, according to the Télam agency.
“I feel a kind of joy, a strange sensation. I did not expect such a quick response from the judges. This gives me hope that I can close a stage in my life. They are many years of struggle and pain“said Lucia.
The woman also said that she “trusts a lot in Justice” and that for her “it is an achievement to have been able to reach this instance of seeing my abuser sitting on the dock.”
According to specialists, Lucía’s cause may create a historical precedent because it ventilates events that occurred within a military institution, puts into play the codes of silence between members of the force and sheds light on gender violence in military settings
Petty Officer Cardozo was processed in double instance for the crimes of “simple sexual abuse in ideal competition with aggravated sexual abuse with carnal access and because the accused belongs to a security force, which ideally concur with the crime of coercive threats and mediating gender violence”, according to the file judicial.
For Sofía Barbisan, the victim’s lawyer, in the case “there is evidence” to prove “simple sexual abuse”, while the accusation of “abuse with carnal access” will depend on the “assessment of the evidence” carried out by the court. .
Lucía “is reproached for not having denounced that fact (the rape) at the same time as the rest of the abuses. Let us hope that we will not find a patriarchal justice. We trust men who judge with a gender perspective“, argued the lawyer on the circumstance that the court is made up of three men.
The former sailor affirms that the abuses occurred in 2013 inside the Ushuaia Naval Base, when her superior, who was almost twice her age, was married and had children, began to sexually harass her, until in one of those events locked her in a warehouse and raped her. Other abuses and persecutions would have occurred in 2014, after a period in which the noncommissioned officer was not prominent in the distribution.
“8 years ago I had a quiet life, I was working and I was already a mother. All of this created a very difficult situation for me, both physically and psychologically. I was assisted in therapy for years. I weighed 100 kilos and had emotional diabetes. I endured threats from my attacker and members of the Navy. I was very afraid, “said Lucia in dialogue with Télam.
According to the woman, throughout the judicial process “they treated me like crazy” and “they didn’t believe me,” until the tests “proved me right. It was painful, it changed my life. The trial won’t change the past but I want justice“, he expressed.