It was enough for a woman to publicly report that she had been sexually abused when she was a minor allegedly by Raúl Jaime Pérez, a panlist politician from Querétaro, so that within hours several accounts of other girls and adults who allegedly experienced similar experiences at the hands of the same subject, who has not been publicly pronounced and is unknown if he remains in the city.
Alessandra Cavazos was the one who decided to start breaking impunity and now asks all women who have experienced an abuse to raise their voices and point to their aggressor.
Find out: Most parents in Mexico don’t know how to identify symptoms of sexual abuse in children
In an interview with Animal Político he recounts that for 14 years he had suffered his own silence, until recently, someone who knows Jaime Pérez asked if he had ever done anything to her. With the direct question, Aless was finally able to break down that barrier and his answer went far beyond sexual harassment: he told her that he tried to rape her when she was 16.
Given the first step of finally appointing its abuser, the following was firm: to file a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), and then to tell it on Facebook, where other testimonies arose.
Aless was just a teenager. One of her best friends had an older sister already married living in Houston, Texas, so they planned to go there to pick up dresses for their high school graduation with the ease of staying at the couple’s home.
From the time they arrived, she recalls, the look of her friend’s brother-in-law made her uncomfortable, as well as some physical phrases and approaches. What he didn’t imagine is that he would go too quickly from the libidinous gaze to seizing a time when the other two women left the apartment for some burgers to get into the room Aless was staying in.
“He went into the room, tried to kiss me, I said no. And that’s when he sexually abused me and tried to rape me. I said no, he touched me everywhere without absolutely or near my consent. A lot of times I said no, don’t come near me, and that’s when I paralysed… I didn’t understand what was going on, I’d never had a sexual experience in my life, I was 16. Suddenly my tights and panties came down, but that’s what his wife and friend came in, and this bastard left me there paralyzed and said ‘Oh, he was helping Aless, he felt bad.’ I stayed there while they ate the burgers,” he says.
After that, he didn’t know what to do. She was afraid to tell her family, not because she is not supported and protected, but just because of it, thinking about the impact she might have on her mom or the reaction her dad might take against the aggressor. I didn’t know who to tell and if it was going to do any good.
“I felt a terrible guilt, shame, disgust, fear, I was afraid that if I spoke, because we live in a sexist society, they won’t believe me, they’re going to think that I jumped on him, I’m going to have problems with my friend’s family. Well, imagine, I was a 16-year-old girl, I had no idea how to react or what was done in a case like this,” she regrets.
The worst part is, the bullying didn’t stop there, he says. Then, every time I met him again at some social event, with total impunity he found a way to approach her and make sexual comments.
Years of depression came, diagnosis of generalized anxiety, insomnia, gaining weight up to 40 kilos and going to therapies of all kinds from the age of 22 to go healing. And although she went so far as to tell some friends or boyfriends about the traumatic experience she had experienced, she never revealed the identity of who she had been. Aless says it’s like the abuser still has a power over his victim, as if he’s ripping his voice out.
Last March 8th was key to her. This International Women’s Day occurred throughout Mexico the largest feminist demonstrations ever seen and Aless became complicit in her abuser for not reporting it. Until a few weeks ago he finally got it.
On the one hand more allegations, on the other hand censorship
Alessandra Cavazos’s post on her Facebook has been shared more than a thousand 300 times in a week and immediately generated more complaints against Raúl Jaime Pérez, although for now there seems to be no other to the authorities.
She has privately received testimonies from 10 other women who claim that they suffered some form of sexual harassment or abuse from the same person, from minors to a 60-year-old woman. Some of the cases were shared on the same social network after talking to them without revealing the identity of the victims. Two told him of alleged sexual touching even in the face of prJaime Pérez’s family. Another describes that being a minor, he harassed her with sexual comments to the point of telling her I can’t you because you’re 17 years old and you’re not legal. Although with Alessandra that didn’t stop him more than a decade ago to be on the verge of rape.
On the 29th of July a complaint was filed with the Attorney General’s Office of Republic against my abuserHoy touches you…
Posted by Alessandra Cavazos on Wednesday, July 29, 2020
But she is surprised that in addition to other victims of the same alleged aggressor, she has received about a thousand comments from people, women and men, who also suffered sexual violence in childhood and realized, she says, that there are many forms of aggression that are not how we were painted in soap operas.
According to several studies presented in 2019 at a forum on child sexual sexual violence in the Senate, it is estimated that one in four girls and one in six children are assaulted before the age of majority; Querétaro is the second state with the highest hospitalization rate of children for sexual violence; but nationally only one in a thousand complaints ends in condemnation, i.e. 99.9% impunity.
Aless also faced comments that disqualify his denunciation and the habit of perpetuating silence, he regrets. In addition to telling her story on her profile, she shared it on a women’s services and recommendations page called Lady Multitask. First the administrators asked him that by group policies he could not put the photo and name of the man he was accusing; she agreed to delete it, but many women began to comment that they did not agree, and that if it was to lean on women, this complaint had to be replicated.
The result was that the group began to censor all those comments, and the outrage of the women led to a new community called Sisters Queretanas, where the back comments rained down.
Beyond Facebook, Alessandra’s denunciation caused a smoth in Querétaro’s political and social circle. Raúl Jaime Pérez has been a state councillor for the PAN, was president of the Electoral Organizing Commission in 2015 and director of Research and Legislative Statistics of the local Congress in the last legislature, and is currently registered as an alternate for federal deputy Felipe Fernando Macías, of the 4th district of Querétaro, who occupies the state capital.
After publication, Macías contacted Aless directly to detach himself from Jaime Pérez and condemn any violence against women. The deputy clarified to Animal Politics that the appointment of his alternate was the party’s decision and he has no employment relationship with him or have had communication either.
Being an alternate, he does not have a position as such and would not enjoy jurisdiction in case the FGR acts against him. The state NAP noted last Thursday that there is already a process to suspend Jaime Pérez’s militancy while it is investigated, although he was asked for documents to prove it and the response was that they are internal. He also said the defendant’s whereabouts are not known.
Aless says the least he wants is for the case to be settled. All she wants is for no one else to quietly suffer an experience like the one she lived through again.
“My intention isn’t even so much against him. I want to encourage the victims to stop shutting up their aggressor’s name, to stop shutting us up, because I know that sexual abuse rips off your voice, they turn it off. But I want to tell victims of sexual violence not to be silent, that their voice is the most beautiful power they have.”
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