Jenni Hermoso’s humiliation: the tip of the iceberg of violence against women in Spain

On the Sunday, August 20th, the final of the Women’s Futbol World Cup was held in Australia, where the Spanish team won against the English, thus achieving its first World Cup. However, the victory of the players has been clearly diluted in the midst of the controversy. During the prize ceremony to the players, Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) decided to hold the head of the player Jenni Hermoso, forcing a kiss on her.

After the kiss, the controversy was already set, but there was still more. All media wrote about the kiss and the statements of Jenni Hermoso in the locker room, where she said “What do I do? I didn’t like it. ” The next day Rubiales began to downplay the issue. First, on August 21, he insulted those who criticized the kiss, but that same day he admitted that “surely” he had been wrong and “had to recognize it.” The government also stated that was “unacceptable.” On August 22, Rubiales made a statement with a questionable apology, and where it was later known that Jennifer Hermoso was pressed to appear, but she refused. And it is not strange, since days later she asked for “exemplary measures” against Rubiales. However, when all the media spread the resignation of Rubiales on August 25, Rubiales again decides to affirm “a consensual kiss” and repeats several times, that “he will not resign” and calls to fight against “false feminism” that pursues him and that “he is a victim.” As a reaction to these words the rest of the guests of the press room, who were other well-positioned RFEF members and journalists, applaud him. That same day, Jenni Hermoso decides to report on social networks that she considers the act to be an”impulsive, macho act, out of place and without any consent on my part” and she felt “vulnerable and victim of an aggression.”

But the circus still continues, and the next day, FIFA decides to suspend Rubiales for 90 days and Pedro Rocha, vice president of the RFEF who tries to refute the complaint of Hermoso saying that “proofs are conclusive and Mr. President does not lie” and more than 80 players who had signed a resignation to the National Team if the current chief remains are threatened. Also eleven technicians from the women’s team resign in response to these statements. And if that were not enough, Rubiales’ mother starts an “indefinite” hunger and locks herself in a church for the “inhuman and bloody hunt” his son’s lives. Three days later she would stop the “indefinite hunger strike”.

Finally, Rubiales gradually lose some of his supports that starts to begin to apologize for having applauded him. And for the pressure of the complaint in the Spanish justice of sexual aggression and harassment today, September 11th, Rubiales finally resigns as president of the RFEF and Vice President of the UEFA.

After all this media circus, what demonstrates is that imperialism wants to continue its business with women’s sport and that it does not want to low its market share. This year the Women’s Soccer League will receive 13 million euros only on television rights. This implies large amounts of economic benefits that can continue to increase if there are no more controversies. It is no accident that the Rubiales case has exploded now. Women’s football has been more popular in the Spanish State for a few years, and with the victory in the World Cup can increase even more. However, it is not the first time something like that happens. For this same World Cup, eight players refused to play in the World Cup, even if they were called to it, demanding the dismissal of the coach, Jorge Vilda. Coincidentally, on September 6th, Rocha dismissed Vilda and placed Montse Tomé as the new coach of the Spanish team . For the first time a woman at the head of the women’s team. The RFEF strategy and the companies behind it is clear: they seek to clean its image.

Companies as Iberdrola, one of the largest companies in the Spanish imperialist State is an official sponsor of the Women’s Soccer League. This company, one of the largest capital exporters to Latin America, has also decided to start exporting capital in the field of sports. In 2021 it became the first company to sponsor Brazil’s women’s Football Team exclusively through its Neoenergia subsidiary. As with the natural resources of the bureaucratic capitalist countries, Iberdrola seeks to promote women’s sport in Latin America in order to import players to the Spanish League as is already happening with players like Kathellen Sousa in Real Madrid.

Also the acting government of the social democrat parties as PSOE and Unidas Podemos has sought to continue its progressive image condemning and asking for the resignation of Rubiales to wash their image before the debate where the next government president will be decided in a few days. And it seems they may have a chance to make a coalition government again. However, the government seems to have more problems to position themselves against the violence suffered by workers and immigrants. The rapes to the strawberry workers in Huelva, are covered by the media every year. These women, mostly Moroccans, suffer abuse by bosses, ranging from semi-slavery working conditions to abuse and sexual exploitation. These women are pressured by their bosses to having sex or being touched, if they oppose this, they get fire and have to go back to Morocco without being payed. For this harvest, there is an agreement between Spain and Morocco where workers can go to the country only for this harvest, afterwards they have to go back. If they are fired they do not have any more options rather than return to Morocco. In 2018, the first time women decided to denounce the situation, all those who denounced it judicially were returned to Morocco days later.

They have also highlighted other struggles of workers who have received little or no government’s help, such as the “Kellys”, which are hotel cleaners. Their situation is hard for the high temporality they suffer and the great workload, which leads them to self -medicate and contract labor diseases. Although the Unions and the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, supposedly has positioned themselves on the side of the workers, but the truth is that their situation continues exactly the same after the labor reform agreed upon by the big Unions and and the Ministry of Labor that supposedly was about seeking to reduce temporality.

In the Spanish State the fall of Rubiales is being held by the false left as an example of “feminism.” However, the violence suffered by women’s women continues to be invisible. For a crime similar to Rubiales, sexual harassment, there have been only 74 convictions for 2021, which clash with surveys that claim that 40.4% of women in the country (8.2 million) suffer sexual harassment. Of these, 17.3% are the workplace. Today, 80% of sexual violence is not denounced, according to official data, and rises to 92% if it is not the partner who exercises it. More than 2.8 million women have suffered from sexual violence, 45% were sexually abused, 13.5% sexually assaulted and 12% raped.

The imperialist system and its defenders and lackeys will only denounce the abuse against women that serve their own interest. They do not condemn the poverty of landless peasant women in Brazil or the exploitation of women immigrants in Spanish fields but, try to clean their image by denouncing a not consented kiss in public so as hypocritically portrait themselves as defenders of the rights of women.

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