It was in November, too, but this time 20 years ago. Ana Orantes suffered a brutal death, burned alive by her ex-husband in the back yard of the house in Cúllar Vega that a court sentence had forced them to share. Just days earlier she had spoken publicly, on a Canal Sur television programme, of he physical and sexual abuse that she had been suffering for years. That act of savagery jolted the authorities, security forces and judges into real awareness of violence against women. Thousands of cases came out into the open, laws were passed, special courts were designated and protection measures and aid implanted. As usual in Spain, it took an atrocity that had an international impact for society and the government to realise that we have - unfortunately we still have - a serious problem of machismo. The death of Ana Orantes has served to save the lives of many other women over the last two decades.
In september 2014, Jokin, 14, got on his bike and set off for the town wall of Fuenterrabía (Guipúzcoa). He climbed to the top and threw himself off. Shortly after, his family stated in a letter that the boy had decided that day that “eternal peace was better than everyday hell”. He could no longer bear the continual beatings, insults and harassment he suffered at the hands of a group of classmates, in the midst of the complicit silence of those who knew what was going on and the ignorance of the rest. Once again it took an atrocity for us to become fully conscious of the problem of bullying and the need to fight it. At least now, when a young lad says he is being abused he is taken seriously.
This week Malaga has seen the trial for what has been considered the worst case of cruelty to animals in history, which allegedly occurred in Torremolinos between 2008 and 2010. The former president of the animal shelter faces four years in prison for what the public prosecutor describes as mass “extermination sessions”. What’s more, according to Seprona, the animals were injected with a smaller dose of the euthanasia drug than necessary, to save money, causing a slow and painful death. If she is found guilty, I can only hope that the punishment is exemplary and that those more than 2,100 dogs that were sacrificed will also serve as life-saving victims; that they open the eyes of this society so sadly permissive towards cruelty to animals; and that the impunity of so many brutes comes to an end. We owe it to them.