Posts Tagged ‘women’

Three sisters

Posted: December 6, 2015 by jennroig in English, Fiction
Tags: , , ,

Three women in one frame. They could be family, mother, daughter and aunt. They could be just friends babysitting a girl. Or they could be three sisters from different mothers.

three women park

The girl, disengaged from the adults, could be looking for some lost item. Perhaps a wrist watch given by her father for getting good grades in school. Or she could be just trying to keep up, to reach the same spot where the older sister is. The beautiful sister , the one with a career, who visits a couple of times a year and who doesn’t get along all too well with dad. But dad speaks well about her in his own way. Somehow he always make it sound like she should follow those steps, her oldest sister’s steps. Unlike the middle daughter, pregnant of a man dad doesn’t particularly approve.

But there’s something about her oldest sister that pushes her away. Not that she doesn’t love her, because she certainly does, it’s her sister. But it’s in her eyes. In a way like every time she looks at her she doesn’t really see her. Like she was always bored and wishing to leave. She never asks her about else other than school, and even then for only a second, before she loses interest again. The youngest sister doesn’t get that vibe from her middle sister. In fact, she has taken the girl with her to buy stuff for the baby. She has felt the baby kicking in her sister’s tummy. She’s going to be an aunt and that’s exciting.

Maybe that closeness between a mother to be and her younger sister is because she understands, better than anyone, how does it feel to be measured against such high standards, how much it hurts not to be loved by who she is, but rather being an experiment, another chance to make right whatever went wrong with the first failed trial. That’s what her sister is, a failed trial. It took time for her to understand that she wasn’t really trial number two, because she’s a different person therefore she deserves to be regarded as unique trial, whether failed or not. It took her time in therapy, and finding her husband, who helped her to find herself when looking at the mirror. Herself. A discovery that gave her so much relief. It’s relieving to know that she didn’t have a chance to win that race, because she’s not her older sister, she’s herself. And she loves her husband so much, against all judgments and disapproval, despite the age difference, no matter that he has two previous marriages with two other kids. Right now he’s with her, she’s the center of his world. It feels so great to be at the center of a world. That´s why it breaks her heart to see her little sister, knowing that she doesn’t get it yet, that she can’t win that race, she can’t even run it as it is.

It could be that the middle sister can see through older sister´s walls to see that she’s not really detached, she just can’t be like their younger sisters. She can’t avoid an immense boredom when they try to tell her about baby showers, or matching shoes and purses, of father’s schedule for taking the pills for his heart conditions. God knows she could give her blood for her sister, she would take a bullet for her but she can’t properly listen. Her middle sister, actually, she’s not so sure how does she really feel for the little one. She’s so different, so not part of her memories and so much a child of a middle-age-crisis. And she listen to her speaking that dad has the pictures of her in a vegetable costume for the last school’s stupid play. A vegetable. And she will have to smile when they’ll get back home and father will show the pictures in the cell phone. A vegetable. She was never in a play, she wouldn’t have time in the middle of all those academic contests, advanced classes. She figured out by herself that Santa didn’t really exist, and she got yelled when she told her sister. Her middle sister. Her sister.

But they came together to the park because someone had to take the girl for a walk, now that the father is in mandatory health leave, and doctors recommend not to abuse with effort. But later the middle sister will have a doctor’s appointment for a baby check up and the husband can’t go with her for the day. And the oldest sister doesn’t want her sister to me alone, even though if everything seems to be going well with the pregnancy. They will take the girl along for lunch, then to the doctor’s office, then back to father´s home. And the day will be over. Until next time.


Thank God for my Barbieless childhood

Posted: November 26, 2014 by jennroig in Commentary, English
Tags: , , ,

I’ve heard there’s a new barbie in the market now. A Barbie that it’s supposed to be realistic, it’s smaller than classic Barbie, more curvy and… more anatomically possible. I’m not so sure about that. I haven’t read if manufacturers added anything that may remotely resemble a vagina… But that’s a discussion for another day. The thing is girls can add bruises and scars and cellulite when they play with the doll, so this one should make them feel better about themselves as females, as future women…

I grew up in Cuba, in the 80s. No Barbies in my toy kingdom back then. It was the Golden Age of the Soviet era. Everything was made in USSR.

Vintage set, exactly like mine.

Vintage set, exactly like mine.

I had a set of Matryoshkas, I had a baby boy doll with stuffed body. Or at least I thought it was a baby boy, even though it was dressed in pink… what a lovely thing to think for a girl back then. I had a lot of stuffed animals that I like to vaccinate pretending I was a nurse and they needed to receive medication via a syringe. About that baby boy doll, I remember I really liked that toy.

Of course, as a girl, there’s always this doll that you care a lot for. You don’t love it as much as you admire it. You don’t play that much with it, instead you put it in a visible place to be admired, queen among all the others, because you think it’s beautiful and you feel you would like to be like “her”.

For me, it was a tall doll, brown eyes with long eyelashes, black hair slightly curled, with a skin several tones darker than mine, like an Indian skin, or mixed race skin. Her body was solid, curvy, and with its round face you wouldn’t think it as thin. It wore a pink, loose dress and it had definitely an adult expression, a somehow distant maturity and mystery in her eyes. It didn’t look like a girl doll, but a woman doll.

Barbies actually came later to my life. My aunt came back from Angola with two of those, when the war ended or at least Cuban troops were dismissed. One was dressed in white, like a bride. The other was dressed in black, like an elegant femme fatale or a millionaire orphan. Both were skinny, so tall with impossibly long legs. They used heels, but they couldn’t stand, they needed some sort of plastic device to help them stand. I didn’t play with those either. I sat them in front of the queen, on the other extreme of the shelf.

As a woman, I left behind those dolls a long time ago. Not just because I’m a migrant and dolls don’t fit in my luggage, but they were out of sight even before, when my mom moved to Havana and I refurnished my bedroom as university student.

Now I wonder if I don’t have a lot to thank to that queen doll. Even if I envied her, even if I wished I looked more like her, with those big mysterious eyes and darker skin and less like myself. As every girl/woman, I would want to be different. Back then more than now. But also now.

Yet not to the point of having plastic surgery, or spending hours and tons of money on makeup, or rejecting who I am and how I’m made. I’m fine with the way I am, even when I’m not at my best. Maybe it’s true and I have that doll to thank for, because at least she had a body that resemble mine, because she resembled a human female, not an impossible fantasy of some feverish, sick mind.

In my 30’s and Single

Posted: December 11, 2013 by jennroig in Commentary, English, Reviews
Tags: , , ,
Frida Kahlo: Henry Ford Hospital

Frida Kahlo: Henry Ford Hospital

I’m 31, very soon 32, and single.

Moreover, I have no rush in buying a house, or a car, or permanently tie myself to someone, or even worse, having a child. According to what I learned, this doesn’t match to what being a woman was supposed to be. It actually looks like exactly the opposite. Am I some kind of distorted or traumatized creature?

I don’t know. Maybe. What I do know it’s that I’m not alone in this. Year after year, as I turn older, I find more articles, blog posts or audiovisual where people are talking about the same issue. They are hitting the third decade of their lives and finding themselves without any serious prospect for marriage, or the life-lasting-job, or the dream family house in the suburbs, or the two or three kids that were suppose to complete a healthy family.

The most recent example is this short documentary by an Argetinian filmmaker published on NYT website that I have just finished watching. I strongly recommend it. It is a real woman sharing outloud the thread of her thoughts, the way she sees herself, the way she’s breaking a pattern and how she’s finding a way to be happy in her own terms.

There’s even a name for people like this Argentinian woman and myself. We are suppose to be the so-called Peter Pan generation. A generation that entered the 20th and kept behaving like teens, which older segment is now hitting the 30’s and still resists to settle down and grow some roots. She gives some key arguments: happiness is a choice, a great satisfaction comes from understanding and accepting yourself, no need to compete or follow anyone’s standards, the great-eternal-passionate love that she wanted in her 20’s isn’t a goal anymore.

Then, from time to time, I ask myself what exactly is to be an adult? What are those great differences between a grown up and myself?

Times change. It can’t be that the same concept of adulthood applies to both my mom and I. Values change, 50 years ago it was common to think that babies were God’s blessings so Providence will provide for them, today anyone with a basic commonsense knows that it takes a lot of economic, intellectual and emotional resources to raise a kind, responsible, socially fit human being. Societies and ideas change. Previous generations of women didn’t have the same opportunities as women from my generation to build a path and rule over their lives.

In the middle of all the uncertainty, of all the unanswered questions that are the mark of these days, it is impossible to say what’s the archetypical description of a grown up woman today. Definitions are being shaped. And as far as I can see, this is a time for eclectic thinking.

I know this I’m getting very late to this party, but I just watched the latest episode of Teen Reacts and they are discussing this very issue.

So, as a woman, I gotta say I think some of us, and some guys, are kind of overreacting to Thicke’s tune, claiming it’s offensive, and it diminishes women. Sisters, let’s not make a very big fuzz of this, because it’s really not worthy.

Have you take the time to hear or check the lyrics, they are meaningless. They make no sense as a whole. If anything, there are some lines saying good girls like sex (why not?) and other lines admitting the fact that any man is the creator or the owner of any girl, and no girl needs permission to go for it. Again, what’s the big fuzz for?

The unrated video, by the way, the topless version, could be a bit more debatable. I would get the arguments of women used as sexual objects, which obviously they are. But these girls seem to be having a nice time with Thicke and Pharrel. And I would dare to bet that they were nicely paid as well. On the other hand, women are so blatantly objectified on so many other TV shows, and films, and literature, and no one seem to be upset about it.

Isn’t there anyone who notice how dummy most of Sorkin’s female characters are? The West Wing was full of cute, tender, generous women, but they were never nearly as clever as their male bosses. It’s happening again in The Newsroom, by the way. (To be noticed: I love both shows). And have you seen Oz, the Greatest and Powerful? There you have it, good old male chauvinism at its best! And I didn’t read much media coverage debating it…

Women’s image has been downplayed and objectified by the media. Beauty standards have become unreachable which is hurting so many teen girls in so many ways. Our capacity to lead has been repeatedly dismissed, and contested our right to decide whether to be pregnant. Our wages are still lower than men’s. The education of a girl is still a luxury in so many places on this planet. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So do you really think Thicke’s song and video clip is such a huge deal? I would say no. Thicke’s Paula Patton’s husband, I would risk saying she will keep him on a short leach.

Don’t believe me? Check for instance Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, you’ll get my point.

-runaway-bride-funny-wedding-cakPeer pressure, to begin with. You are in a wedding and suddenly everybody realizes you’re single, and for some weird reason that becomes a reason to show compassion for your “loneliness”, and you start listening to pep talks about how the day will come you’ll find the right one, and no matter how cool you feel about the fact that you are 30 and single, they keep telling you that you don’t need to get desperate, and you even if you want, you are not able to find the chance of telling everybody you are not desperate, not by any means, that you feel terrific about the fact that you may still enjoy the thrills of dating, and meeting new people, but they insist that love will come and finally will show there is nothing like being in love with your soul mate, that moment you’ll feel butterflies in your stomach. Right then you look at everybody, remembering the divorce rates keep rising all over the world, and you start suspecting something has to be wrong with the water they are drinking, because it’s the only common thing they are all consuming…

Well, something along those lines happened to me yesterday. I must be honest and confess it’s a single experience, because I try to keep myself as far as possible from wedding celebrations, but yesterday night was unavoidable. My cousin was celebrating his second nuptials with the second Brazilian of his life. Whatever…

So, here’s pretty much how the story goes.

I arrived early -I must have some Danish or English ancestor because I’m freakingly punctual which is by the way very annoying if you move around in a Hispanic universe. But I was not the first one actually, there were some others already there, waiting for the groom and the bride, who told everybody to be early, so they could be sure to arrive to a place with an already set quorum. Whatever….

I’m not complaining about the timing. At least it gave me the chance to laugh a bit of some guests, female guests, dressed in a very sexy, showing lots of flesh, fashion. From the moment I checked these gals, I knew many of them would be very cold, and later very drunk to stop been cold, going through the night. What I complain about it’s the hall. On January 10, it was still decorated for Christmas… This hall belongs to a Brazilian restaurant, couldn’t they take away the freaking Christmass tree and replace it with anything else?

So, we were around 40 people inside… not enough space. But we are friendly people, most of the time. At least Cubans are friendly with other Cubans and polite to Brazilians, and viceversa, but that language barrier I guess it’s to blame for the not enough mingling of the guests. Then it turned out that when the night hits its peak, Brazilians were chatting with Brazilians, Cubans with Cubans, producing all together such loud whisper sound it could drive you crazy.

But that’s not actually the disadvantage of being in someone else’s wedding. I guess not all wedding are annoying. But if you are single, and have some a-decade-older cousin whose friends are all married, make sure you’ll take a date with you. Hell rent a male escort if you have to!

There I was, in my thirties, surrounded by almost forty or passed forty, whether engaged, married, parents, grandparents… I missed my single friends as I can’t even start to describe it!

So, but why do I get to hate so much these wedding celebrations?Well, there are some issues with marriage by itself. It has been a way tobuy and sell women for centuries, and ultimately to control them. The only reasons male thought in terms of marriage was to secure their descendants, considering that until very recently only women could be sure who the father of the child was… and sometimes not even they could tell for sure. And afterwards marriage has become a career for some women who dismiss their potential and opt for the easy way of finding a guy who support them. Isn’t that a way to legalize prostitution? Whatever… And then, because it has turned into a silly tradition, that a lot of people accept because they like the dresses, the parties, the pictures, and the gifts!

But that is not my reason, or not the whole deal. It has something to do with the idea of prefering to remain free, while I don’t find a relationship that will be dead with the routine of washing someone else’s dirty socks. It’s not only because I believe 30 is still pretty young and I have plenty of time to make one of the most important decisions of a lifetime, especially if I hate divorces. It has more to do with the idea that marriage is private, it’s the construction of a social institution that should be carried out only by responsible people, and it doesn’t need to be celebrated in public, with fancy clothes, and a lot of spending, but discretely, with only the closest at the most.

Still, there’s something more… Unless I need to get marry for some legal reason, I think I’m comfortable with the idea of waiting for the moment everybody can get married and not just a few. Yes, Everybody.

Ashleigh Shelby Rosette

This interview is the unedited version of the original Spanish version which was originally published by AmericaEconomia on February 14, 2012.

Ashleigh Shelby Rosetteis a researcher and professor at the Duke University. Her paper Can an Agentic Black Woman Get Ahead? was published by the Psychological Science Journal and it focuses on observing how black female senior executives are perceived inside the organizational world in the USA.
By force, both the research and the interview repeatedly refer to Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO, as the only black female CEO of the Fortune’s 500.

You research pointed to the fact that in the US, white and afroamerican female leaders are perceived differently. Is that equally applicable to public administration figures such as Condoleezza Rice and Angela Merkel and corporate leaders such as Ursula Burns (Xerox) and Virginia M. Rometty (IBM)?

I’m not sure that our data can specifically speak to whether or not female leaders, black female leaders, would be perceived comparably to white males or would be perceived differently from white female, in public administration. I don’t know that our data answers that, wouldn’t speculate in that arena. Our data looks at business leaders. I don’t know wheter or not it would extrapolate to public administration or non profit organizations.

Is there any research focusing on how women are perceived in business environments when behaving agentically, if they are neither white nor black, but Asians, Native-Americans or Latinas? Could you offer some opinion on the matter?

I have conducted research that has examined … compared to whiteness, blackness, Hispanicness and to Asianness. However, I have not looked specifically at Asian women or at Latinas or Native-American women. We were the first, to be honest, we weren’t aware of any studies at all that studied anything except white women. The fact that we were studying African Americans was kind of groundbreaking, there was no previous research that we were aware of that specifically studied agency in regard to any other race except for white women.

If you ask me an opinion, I would suspect that dominance would be comparably proscribed for Asian women as it is for white women. I would suspect that Latina women would be more confortably compared to black women. Whereas there’s an agency penalty for white women to behave dominantly I would suspect that a similar agency penalty would happen for Asian women. As black women have more lattitud with regard to their behavior, I would expect Latino women would also have that lattitud simply based on culture, the expectations of the culture in which those women are judged.

Do you have any remarks on how the cultural setting of an organization, or a country, could affect the perception of female leaders in general?

I think certain countries are much more accepting a female leader than are other countries. I think you have different stereotypes as you go from country to country. There’s a spectrum of favor by femininity and masculinity in terms of what’s acceptable in a leadership role. In certain countries, regardless of race, religion, class, women simply would not hold leadership roles, period. But in other cultures there’s a lot more lattitud and the fact that we can even talk about it, it’s a whole lot.

So, I think that culture would definitely play a role with regard to our findings. Our findings are specific to the United States, and we had to put that concept on it. Culture is the lens through which we view the world, different cultures view female leaders quite differently.

Could you elaborate on that, what kind of cultures would be more receptive of female leaders and which would not?

Cultures have various spectrums, various cultural values. Often we think on how individualist this culture is, or how collectivist this culture is, or how hierarchical a culture is, or how egaliterian a culture is. Just as we have that type of spectrum on those types of values, I think there’s also a spectrum on femininity and masculinity. Some cultures are more masculine, some others are more feminine. So cultural settings can definitely affect on various stereotypes.

One important part of culture is religion. And catholicism is very important among the Hispanic population, which is significantly growing in the US. Would you indicate any relation between religion and the perception of leaders? To what extent the role of religion can be relevant?

Even though we didn’t necessarily looked at religion, I think religion could potentially, perhaps, be a factor on how women are perceived differently. We had John F. Kennedy and he was the first Catholic president ever, and that was groundbreaking sort to speak. I think in the current presidencial election relition is also playing a big role. But in our study we did not examined religion explicitly.

The current economic crisis has resulted in a surge, rather a preference for female leadership -e.g. Christine Lagarde (IMF), Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (Iceland’s Prime Minister), all the female head of commissions at the EU Commission. Do you think this current crisis have affected the perception of black female leaders as well?

Regarding the rise or prominence of women in these top senior positions such as Christine Lagarde in the IMF, I think what we are seeing here is tha there can be a female leader in advantage sometimes, I think this rise of the respect in the feminization of leadership and the feminization of management, because the conceptualization of successful leadership is changing as to incorporating once was pressumed communal abilities and people are starting to value those communal abilities. They are trying to value this relationship that element enacts, the nurturing aspect of leadership. And meanwhile we start to de-value the directive, authoritarian type of leadership. I think that there’s definitely a rise in feminization of management with regards to people in general, not just in the US, but in many countries, they are actually starting to value the skills that women can bring to the table and that may not have been something that they valued previously.

Your research also points to a correlation in the perception of white male leaders and black female leaders. But some opinions indicate that this crisis has negatively affected the image of white male leaders who are neing perceived now as risky, and blamed for not preventing and even triggering the crisis. How that might affect your established parallel between black women in leadership positions and white men?

I think there’s a big difference between black women and white men especially in the US. When you think of the prototype of leadership you don’t think of a black woman, you think of a white men. And because that is what we expect, I don’t think black women would also be perceived as risky or blamed for not preventing these economic failures or because they were not in the position to take these decisions.

I guess what I’m saying is black women can behave similarly to white men without being negatively evaluated. But black women have to be in those top positions in order to benefit from this behavior and unfortunately the numbers aren’t there. If we look at the Fortune 500 leaders, there’s only one black woman who holds that position, Ursula Burns.

If we look at congress, there are not that many black women readers and I dont think it’s any on the Senate. There might be only a handful on the House of Representatives. So, I don’t think that black women would get seen in the same way as white men, because pretty simple they are not occupying the positions.

In Latin America and the US we have seen a diversion from the classic pattern of white male leaders. In the US, the election of Obama is an unprecedented fact. In Latin America, Hugo Chavez -mestizo- in Venezuela and Evo Morales -indigenous- in Bolivia have also broken the traditional pattern. They all behave differently as leaders. How would you say the distinctive social, cultural and historical background could influence on the perceptions of their performance?

You are asking me if the fact that Barack Obama is the first black president, whether or not his race enforces how is he perceived as president. IS that right?

The fact that we have called Barack Obama the first black president, says that his culture, as a black man, as a mulato man, influences how we perceive what he’s doing. Some would argue that he’s being held to a different standard than some of the presidents we had. The thing he broke the rule of the traditional pattern, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t expect that tradition pattern to occur. For example, if you would have asked me who you think is going to be the next president of the US, what is going to be his race? I would say it’s probably going to be a white person. Why? Because that’s the race of all that we’ve known except for this one. Now, if after Barack Obama our next president happen to be Latino, and then an Asian, and then again a black presindent, and then the next Hispanic, and then if you would ask me: what’s going to be the race of the next president? Then I would say I don’t know because I would have this pattern of difference. But the thing is one person not necessarily changes our expectations. It takes a pattern to change our expectations of who do we expect to hold the role of president of the US. I think yes, it has broken the pattern, but that doesn’t mean that we expect to happen again. Usually we think it’s going to revert to the way it used to be.

I would say that would be definitely the case here.

But yes, his race, his culture, definitely plays a huge influence in terms of how is he perceived and seen as president. He’s not just perceived as the US president, he’s perceived as the first black president of the US. And by putting that “first black” label on him that brings in all that culture, all global background that says how is he going to be evaluated differently than has other presidents been evaluated, because he is breaking the pattern.

As well, there are foreign presidents that are breaking that paradigm, in the Western world at least, of the image of an old white male as head of state. Do you think the administration of Obama, the very fact of him holding the presidency, has resulted in some sort of change in that perception? How’s that current perception could be described in the first place and whether or not Obama has change it?

I think what I’m saying is no. Or rather I’m saying yes and no. He has changed it such that wow, this actually can happen in the US! A black man can be president! So outside it’s the same: wow, a mulato like Hugo Chavez can be president! But, if you asks me who the next president is going to be, I wouldn’t necessarily say it will be a black man. I would expect to be a white man because that’s what we’ve seen and that’s we’ve known. One person does not change the pattern, after 44 presindents all white men. The fact of having one young black man in the presidency doesn’t make me think that now I’m going to have another black man president.

Because tradition, in the way in which we expect our leaders to be, doesn’t necessarily change with one person. It helped, and it can start a trend and a change, but I don’t think that one person holding that role as symbolic as it may be, monumental as it may be, inspiring as it may be, I don”t think that we can say that one person is necessarily going to start a trend of leaders with different kinds of background. When we have seen five or six leaders with different backgrounds, then that may be the case.

What happens if we substitute the word “expectations” by the word “judgement”, or “appreciation”? How the general appreciation tends to construct around leaders who break the paradigm? What happens when they go wrong? Did they go wrong because they were not fit enough for the job or because they don’t meet the mainstream paradigm?

That’s the eternal trouble. That’s the burden that people people of different races, genders, religions laways have to bear. Because they fundamentally can’t ask that question. I think a part of it will sometimes be attributed to their difference. But the thing is that it is so ambiguous, in terms of what you attributed to, that it’s something that is always going to be in the back of people’s mind but as soon as they call them on it, as soon as they recognize it, as soon as they acknowledge it, then people stand back from things like that. You will really like to think that they always are going to be judge on their merit, in terms of how they did solid on their performance, but history tells that it usually is not the case.

Considering the number of female presidents in Latin America -former Chilean president Bachelet, Dilma Rouseff in Brazil, Cristina Kirchner in Argentina and Laura Chinchilla in Costa Rica – do you have any comments on how these Latin American female leaders are perceived in the US?

Unfortunately I don’t know enough about it, I’m aware of them, but in terms of general or broad perception as leaders, I couldn’t necessarily speak about that.

Moreover, do you think it could open the field of research in terms of leadership perception? Could you refer to any previous results in this regard?

Actually I am working on some studies related to the subject. The thing is that whether we like it or not, our country, our labor force, our managers, the people we work with, everyone is much more diverse. Therefore, there’s a need to understand how diversity works in our organizations, our corporations, our states, and in our country. I think because of that, there’s going to be an increase in the study of the variables. Not just looking at the variables in isolation, not looking at race only, or gender only, or religion only, or class only. I think as the country is becoming more diverse, because our social identities are intersecting, we are going to really start understanding how morphous identities work influence our workforce, how they influence how we perceive our leaders, and how they influence how the job is done in terms of productivity in organizational settings. I will hope in academia I would expect to definitely going to see more studies that are looking at various intersecting identities as opposed to fewer studies.

Sexo impuesto

Posted: August 1, 2012 by jennroig in Articles, Spanish
Tags: , , , , , ,

(Texto originalmente publicado en Alma Mater, abril 2009)

Daphne y Apollo, de Bernini

1:00 AM: Sandra va hacia su cuarto en la beca. Viene de la recreación borracha y acierta la llave en la cerradura. Entra, olvida cerrar y cae en cama como peso muerto. Regresó temprano, está sola en la habitación. De pronto, un cuerpo cae sobre ella. Le están zafando el pantalón y vislumbra, distorsionada y desenfocada, la cara del joven con quien estuvo bailando. Pero ella no lo invitó y ahora siente que la penetra. Quiere protestar, luchar, pero tanto alcohol no la deja.

8:00 AM: Sandra despierta. Un brazo ajeno rodea posesivo sus caderas. Observa sin entender al hombre a su lado. Está desnudo. En las otras literas, duermen las compañeras de piso. Nace el asco, no exactamente de la resaca.

Lo aparta, por qué está él ahí. Siente su responsabilidad con las otras y lo cubre con la sábana. No sabe qué hacer con él… no sabe qué hacer con ella. En el baño, vomita. Luego se mira al espejo. Tiene un agujero negro en la memoria, pero algo le dice que ella no quería.

9:00 AM: En el aula, Sandra oye la voz del profesor de Derecho Penal como un background sonoro ininteligible. No atiende a clase. En cambio, repite mentalmente sus acciones de la víspera. Por más que trata, no recuerda besar o haber incitado al chico a seguirla. Aunque le parece haberlo visto en Psicología, ni siquiera sabe su nombre. Repasa el procedimiento para comprobar una violación; como estudiante de Derecho, conoce cuán complicado es. Tampoco está segura de haber sido violada.


Cualquier ciudadano promedio, como cualquier estudiante, becario o no, sabe que la violación es un crimen. Pero la mayoría de nosotros, al escuchar del tema, suele imaginar una mujer martirizada, golpeada, vejada, obligada a ser penetrada mediante la fuerza bruta o la amenaza de algún arma.

En esos casos, está claro que el culpable debe ser castigado y la ley establece claramente cómo. En presidio, los convictos de pederastia y los violadores son unánimemente repudiados por todo el resto de la población carcelaria y deben ser confinados aparte para evitar en muchos casos los linchamientos. Ni siquiera el asesinato es tan mal visto.

No obstante, Sandra intuye que el consenso colectivo no se aplica en su caso. Se da cuenta de algo que no hubiera pensado antes: a pesar de cuánto se intenta proteger a la mujer, de los logros y de lo que aún se hace, la luz bajo la que se examinaría su caso es todavía difusa. Regresa al sentido de qué es violar: violar es violentar, lo cual ahora le parece no implica necesariamente el uso de fuerza. En contradicción, decide no hacer nada… Sin pruebas, si lo confesara, habría opiniones encontradas, muchos la culparían por estar borracha, alguien atestiguaría que ella provocó al joven, mientras bailaban sensualmente toda la noche. No contará nunca a nadie; cuando pregunten sus compañeras de cuarto, dirá que fue un cuadre de una noche.

Sin embargo, una rabia le nace por dentro y por un segundo no la deja respirar. Se calma, tiene que aprender a vivir con eso y olvidar.

Hasta dónde sé, Sandra no existe. Aunque hace días escuché de una amiga una anécdota semejante. Después recordé otras parecidas, oídas tiempo atrás. Ya no estoy tan segura de que Sandra no sea más real de lo que imagino. Igual no es lo que importa: ella sería sólo un testimonio…

Me preocupa más la actitud de mi amiga: no me dijo el nombre de quien se coló en su cuarto, pero sí que era un amigo. Asegura no haberlo provocado, pero está convencida de que él no es un delincuente y sí un excelente alumno que cedió a un impulso irracional. Lo afectaría si lo acusara de violador. No la entiendo, por eso lo escribo, para que alguien me explique.