A short time ago, it would have been unthinkable for a judge to investigate the already resigned president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, for sexual assault for the non-consensual kiss of soccer player Jenni Hermoso. Or that the police, hours after a man touched the ass of the reporter Isabel Balado in the street, when she was on a live connection, located him, arrested him and brought him before the judge.
Between the two cases there is one difference and two revealing coincidences. The difference is that Rubiales and Hermoso already knew each other from before (he was the head of the RFEF and she was a footballer selected by this organization), while Balado did not know the man who harassed her while she was working. This reminds us that abuse takes place in many areas and circumstances.
In the field of coincidences, first of all, the fact that the first reaction of the two women was to maintain their manners as if nothing had happened and put their professionalism at the front, although both have subsequently faced the men who they did not respect them. The second coincidence, linked to the first, is that both situations occurred in public and were caught by the cameras: what in other circumstances could have remained in that high percentage of harassment or aggression suffered by women without no consequence is now under judicial investigation.
Despite the practically unanimous social consensus that the two actions are intolerable, there is also a trend – there is no reason to deny it – that believes that in the case of Rubiales the media has gone too far. "Lynching in the public square" or "the worst case of handling sheep in 50 years", can be read in some comments of the digital edition.
The media act as a meeting place for a society: in and through them, the necessary public debate is generated on matters that affect us all. In this case, on the limits of harassment, sexual assault and punishment. The judges will have the last word, but the media have an obligation to address them thoroughly, to leave the cold statistics so that cases like these, clear and exemplary, help to consolidate social progress.
So that men who do not understand the limits of respect know that society no longer tolerates their attitudes, so that no woman feels that she has to carry on as if nothing happened after suffering a similar situation.