SPANISH GOVERNMENT ABOUT TO JAIL MOTHER FOR PROTECTING DAUGHTER FROM FATHER WHO IS A SEXIST AGGRESSOR
Feminist collectives from Seville
Call for international solidarity with María Salmerón, about to be jailed by the Spanish state for protecting her daughter from her father, a sexist aggressor. Smash patriarchal justice and institutional violence!
María Salmerón from Seville (Spain), mother of a now 21-year-old daughter, got divorced from her husband more than 20 years ago, hoping that this would end the physical, sexual and psychological violence the girl’s father was committing against her. Her daughter, who describes her father as a cold and distant person who has never treated her with love, has refused to spend time with him for as long as she can remember. Concerned for her child’s wellbeing, María decided to comply with her wish and allow her not to see him.
Regardless of his lack of interest in raising the girl, her ex-husband sued María for breaching the visiting agreement that had been established after the divorce. In spite of having been convicted for gender-based violence, the court decided on his favour and even forced the girl to move in with him for two years, after which she needed psychological treatment due to the emotional violence she had suffered from him. Meanwhile, María was sentenced to 9 months in prison for disobedience against the judicial authority.
Until now, she has not had to serve the sentence as she has been granted pardon three times. However, on 26th of April this year, the Spanish ministry of justice denied her a fourth pardon, which means she will have to go to jail, unless a combination of legal support, feminist action and public scandal succeed in overturning the decision.
During the last few weeks, feminists from all over the country have been taking to the streets to demand freedom for María Salmerón and the end of the patriarchal structures that still prevail in the Spanish justice system. Apart from organising protests and online campaigns, feminist activists crashed the “4th Iberoamerican Meeting on Gender, Justice and Social Security” organised by the ministry of justice and transmitted on live streaming to several South American countries. This action aimed to expose the hypocrisy of the current government formed by social democrat PSOE and leftist Unidas Podemos which, since the very start of its parliamentary term, has put great effort into promoting itself as the “most feminist government in Spanish history”.
The case of María Salmerón is just another proof of the oppressive alliance of patriarchy and the state. Women like María are abused not only by their aggressors but also by the governmental and judicial entities who perpetrate institutional violence against them and their children. This persecution and revictimization adds to the difficulties victims of sexist violence already face when trying to end abusive relationships and create a secure, self-determined life for themselves and their sons and daughters.
Also, aggressors like María’s ex-husband who never cease to obsess with exerting power over their victim, after a divorce often proceed to harming or even killing their own children to inflict suffering on the mother. A state that defends an aggressor’s demand to see their offspring above the child’s and mother’s right to freedom,physical integrity, and mental wellbeing, is an accomplice of this vicarious violence, as it has been named by psychologist Sonia Vaccaro.
On 18th of May María Salmerón has been cited to appear in court. The local feminist movement has organised a solidarity rally at the entrance of the court of La Buhaira to express our support for her and all women fighting against patriarchal and state violence. Also, we call for international solidarity to increase the pressure on the Spanish government and show María that she is not alone.
What can you do?
1) Send a solidarity message to the platform that has been created to coordinate feminist action in support of María Salmerón (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
2) Tag the Spanish ministry of justice (@justiciagob) and the justice minister Pilar Llop (@pilar_llop) on Twitter and demand freedom for María Salmerón and the end of patriarchal justice and institutional violence.
IF THEY HARM ONE OF US, WE’LL RESPOND ALL
AN ABUSER WILL NEVER BE A GOOD FATHER. FREEDOM FOR MARÍA SALMERÓN!
AGAINST PATRIARCHY AND STATE VIOLENCE – FEMINIST STRUGGLE AND SOLIDARITY