During the reading of the Constitution by different citizens, when it touched on article 14, Ana Bella Estévez went out to read in front of the authorities and before the cameras and took advantage of that minute to tell her case, with the ministers in the background: «My husband said that He hit me because he loved me. For eleven years I was mistreated and no one helped me. I couldn’t separate because our marriage was love or death. But here I am, alive. I am not a victim. “I am a survivor and I was able to get ahead with my sons and daughters thanks to public institutions.”
Today director of the Ana Bella Foundation, which accompanies other women victims of gender violence and teaches courses in companies to learn how to detect and share these cases, she had four small children when she managed to separate, at the age of 29, from a partner who beat her. . In her last act, which could have been fatal, she even strangled her during a prison visit, Ana Bella tells this newspaper.
“In a vis-à-vis, he gave me a contract that said we would remain married and he threatened to kill me,” she recalls. «He started to strangle me. I screamed at first but the guards didn’t intervene. He refused to sign and he told me to squeeze his arms if he accepted. But I ran out of strength. In the end I accepted. He had stolen my survival instinct.
Thanks to that brief period in which he was in prison, she left the family home with her children, heading to a foster home, where she stayed for nine months. «The victim needs help to detect it. 36% do not know. “I was one of them,” she says. «That is why they need others, to report. With friends and support you come out as a survivor, not a victim. Women who have been through the same thing are the ones who accompany me the most. I was in the foster home for nine months because she was looking for me to kill me. That’s when I started to not feel alone. Because they believed me.
Now, with her organization, she is “in 88 countries, demonstrating that women who have been mistreated are not the problem but part of the solution,” she said before the authorities present in the Cortes Generales in this act of the Constitution, “because we transform our suffering into experience and empathy to help others. Gender violence exists because there are still men who perpetrate it and I ask those men to stop mistreating and to report people around them because the invisible victims cannot break the silence.
As she survived “the bitterest face of inequality,” Ana Bella read article 14 “in inclusive language.” After reading the Constitution she acknowledges: “I have broken protocol, but it was worth it.”
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