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I’ve been writing this in my head for a few days now, it has been interrupting my thoughts and my other projects and I can’t go another day without getting it out. I was going to write in Spanish, because it pertains to current events in PR, but this is a message that needs to reach as many people as possible.
Recently I woke up to the news that another woman had been found dead in PR and to add salt to that wound she had filed a domestic complaint in court against her partner and was dismissed by the judge. Her partner later confessed to having killing her. Not two days later another woman was found lifeless, floating in a lagoon after she was reported missing. Olympic boxer Felix Verdejo was charged of killing her and her unborn child. If we continue going back in time we will keep finding cases similar to these two. This is nothing new, this has been happening for years in the island. And we liked to pretend that is not a problem, that these cases are far in between, but that is not true. It is a problem, a big one.
I see comments by men saying things like “women should learn how to choose their partners better” or “this is why I’ll teach my daughter self defense”(nothing wrong with this one, but bear with me a minute), but not a single one saying “let me sit down with my kid and educate him so that he doesn’t do this“ or “I should talk to my female friends to learn how to better treat them”. They shift the blame to the her, to the victim and they put the blame in the lyrics of a music genre as if the problem didn’t exist since before it’s creation. As if the music they listen to didn’t have similar lines. They say “things would be different if this music wasn’t allowed “ as if the music was the reason men behave like this. This problem goes beyond that, it’s more deeply rooted than just music lyrics. Shit, I might argue that said lyrics are a reflection of a cultural indoctrination that women are less than men, that women are expendable.
I learned a valuable lesson from my father when I was growing up, how not to treat a woman. I learned that through his actions not his words. Through his actions I learned that you don’t hit women, through his actions I learned that words hurt as much as punches and kicks. Through his actions I memorized the phone number for the local police department.
Every time I read the news and see an article about another woman found dead, killed by her partner I can only go back in time and remember my father. I think about my mother and how lucky we are to still have her here. When I read the news and read another article of domestic abuse I remember my father telling me “you are the reason I didn’t kill your mother once” and then went on to tell me a story about that one time I opened the door to let him in and that changed his mind. I was 11 when he told me this story. See, my father had a problem and music lyrics was not the root of that problem. I am far from perfect, but I am constantly trying to improve myself as a man, as a father and as a husband.
I read today a post that said “I’ve met men that have never harassed a women, but I’ve never met a woman that has not been harassed by a man”. Think about that for a second, then text one of your female friends, your sister if you have one and ask them if they have been harassed at some point. You’d be surprised at how often it happens. Men, take some time and sit with your female friends and talk to them, listen to their stories and learn from them. Let’s do more, let’s be better, because we don’t want another one dead, we want them alive.