María Hervás and Vicky Luengo show “the power of theater” to talk about sexual violence together with the partners of elDiario.es

There is an invisible thread that unites Jauría, the play by Miguel del Arco that was performed in 2019 in Madrid; and Prima Facie , the monologue that has triumphed this year at the Teatros del Canal in the same city and in others where it has toured, where in a few minutes it has posted the no tickets sign. A thread that talks about sexual abuse and violence against women. The thread that reminds us that that group rape of La Manada was the beginning of a change. It was the beginning of the cry of 'Only yes means yes', to talk about sexual consent. That thread also shows that there is still a lot to do.

If that work was a critical, public phenomenon and ended up becoming a feminist symbol, Prima Facie has achieved the same. Now the debates have advanced, and in the monologue that has swept this year what is shown is that the couple themselves can also carry out rape, that consent remains fundamental and that only yes means yes. Both showed in a harsh way what a woman suffers when she is judged (real and metaphorical) when she dares to report. The victim of La Manada experienced it, and the victim of Prima Facie experiences it when she has the courage to say that a person with whom she initially wanted to have sex subsequently raped her.

Part of the success of these works lies in how two actresses like María Hervás (Jauría) and Vicky Luengo (Prima Facie) embodied them. They put body and face to pain and doubts. Both managed to turn going to the theater into a cathartic act where the women who come to the theater see themselves represented. How many women like their characters. Women who were not believed, who could not speak. Both actresses have been the protagonists of the new meeting with the partners that took place in the editorial office of elDiario.es and moderated by the editor-in-chief of gender Ana Requena.

Vicky Luengo herself gave thanks at the beginning because they had been brought together. “I've been wanting to get together with María for a long time and they didn't,” she said and they both shook hands. The Prima Facie actress, in fact, admitted that she was so “terrified before releasing” her work that she was about to write to María Hervás to see how she handled everything. Both spoke of the physical pain and psychological wounds of playing such tough roles. Hours of therapy and physiotherapist to be able to go out on stage every day.

“This work makes me less happy, but it gives me a lot in return, it is important to do it and see what it produces, seeing that emotion is unmatched and compensates me, but I have handled it poorly,” said Luengo, who said that during these months she has dreamed four or five times each season that she is raped. “I have eliminated my ego. My mantra before I go out is that I do it for women. You do it for them and not for yourself as an actress.” Hervás added the word “honor,” but also warned of the danger of demanding too much of oneself. “You fill yourself with responsibilities, that is very womanly, and I didn't realize how it was darkening my soul,” she noted.

They also agreed that these roles have confirmed the power of telling stories. “The power of theater,” as María Hervás said, who recalled that in the discussions after Jauría 's performance there were women who opened their mouths and confessed in front of the audience that they had been raped. Vicky Luengo added that she had been surprised by the visit of two men when the actors left the theater to thank her, since after seeing the play they had understood that they themselves could have abused their partners or they had understood what consent consisted of within of a relationship. “When they tell us that 'why do you defend culture' I always say that emotion moves areas that reason does not move, it happens when you fall in love, or with friendship, it's just that a newspaper, or a debate, doesn't move that. not even an essay, it's pure emotion,” Hervás explained about how these works produced real changes in society.

For Vicky Luengo, the power of Prima Facie , and something that explains the success in all the countries where it has been interpreted, is that the text "is very specific in what it expresses" and raises "a case of 'non-obvious' sexual violence." . “That's what's powerful. We all know what a rape in an alley is, but that a person in an emotional relationship can abuse you is difficult to see and point out.” Both works call into question how victims are treated in court. “Victims are always judged. We always demand so much from women… We do not demand the behavior that society demands of us from other victims. The legal system is not going to change until education changes,” Luengo said.

The victim of La Manada had the right to hook up with one and all five and say no whenever she wanted, even in the middle of a penetration, and they should have respected her and stopped.

María Hervás Actress

Hervás returned to the issue. “Justice is made up of human beings, and we have all been educated in a breeding ground that is sexist education. Mothers have educated us to anticipate possible crime. They don't hold you responsible but it seems that it is intrinsic that as a woman it is your responsibility to come forward. In the case of La Manada there was a lot of social judgment towards her and thanks to powerful feminism we all realized that this was a crime, that she was not to blame for anything and that she had every right to hook up with one and the five and say no whenever you want, even in the middle of a penetration and they should have respected it and stopped that,” he explained forcefully. Hervás later met the victim and revealed that he now considers her his “little sister” and an intimate and beautiful union has been created between them.

There was also, as always, time for questions from members. Teresa told her experience as a teacher. He works at one of the institutes that went to see Jauría , and they had to expel several students for laughing during the performance and making annoying noises. Miguel del Arco, the director, went to talk to them later. What caught Teresa's attention was that the kids' colleagues defended them. María Hervás remembered that moment and said that the laughter did not bother her. He believes that it often functioned as a defense mechanism in a moment of tension and launched a “controversial opinion” by doubting whether the punishment was too forceful and that sometimes, despite the anger, “aggressive speech” should be avoided. “It is normal to be angry, we have been bitched, raped and killed for centuries, we have fire inside, but sometimes that speech is not very intelligent,” Hervás pointed out.

The news of the day also came out in the talk, the CIS survey that states that 44% of men think they are discriminated against by equality policies. Vicky Luengo laughed and said that was her response and pointed to a “semantics problem.” “If you think that equality discriminates against you, it is because you do not understand what equality is. “Everything happens because of the fear of losing privilege,” he concluded. The talk ended with many topics to open, but with the conviction that thanks to the work of two actresses, topics such as consent and sexual violence had reached places where they would not have otherwise.

Full video of the meeting

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