Spanish kiss, why women don’t report abuse

MADRID. − It has been a tumultuous week for women’s football, as it deals with the aftermath of Luis Rubiales kissing Spanish national star Jenni Hermoso on the lips at the Women’s World Cup final.

Hermoso has stated there was no consent.

The Spanish football federation, however, later questioned her claim and threatened legal action for “lies”.

Teresa Parker from Women’s Aid, a charity that supports women and children facing abuse, says the way the incident has played out so far has resonated with many women.

“This is exactly why many women do not come forward to report harassment or abuse,” she said, adding that what had happened would seem to many to go “beyond gaslighting”.

“We are being asked to ignore what you can see on film, and to dismiss a woman when she says she didn’t consent. It is an outrageous situation.”

Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation, where the victim of any gender is deliberately fed false information that makes them doubt their version of events.

“What we are seeing here is powerful men closing ranks to protect one another with a deliberate and sustained campaign of gaslighting and victim-blaming on an international scale,” claims Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project.

To many people, the presence of video footage leaves little room for doubt about what happened.

“The irony is that women are so often told an allegation is meaningless without evidence,” says Ms Bates.

“But what we can see from this case is that even when the evidence is iron-clad the woman is disbelieved anyway, so we really can’t win.

“This happened on an international stage, witnessed by millions… and yet both Rubiales and the entire football institution told her she was wrong.”

She says the message that sent to Hermoso, and the wider world, was “horrifying”.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you achieve, even at the very pinnacle of your career, even with all the evidence and witnesses: we will still crush you if you dare to stand up against a powerful man.” − BBC.

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