Carmen greets me because she just broke her shin and prefers to be at home because her leg is plastered above the knee. She was in her wheelchair preparing for the Valencia marathon, but she takes it in a good mood: “I’ll be okay,” she says, “it’s not a disease or something terrible. Such is life.”
Yes, life is like that but it’s more complicated for some than others. Only the sadness conveyed by her big blue eyes gives an idea of what she has lived and lived through. how did you get through This woman is a victim of gender violence.
A life that promises to take a very different path: Carmen studied Business Administration at ICADE and earned a second degree in Actuarial and Financial Sciences, which quickly landed her in a company. American multinational consulting firm and enjoy “significant economic independence”.
It was at the company that she met a colleague who would become a monster at 27: “It was a convoluted relationship from the beginning, because Incidents of humiliation and contempt occurred from the very beginning. Even though we have the same career, it doesn’t matter if one wants to humiliate the other. He told me I was stupid, had no idea what I was talking about, and wanted to see my exams…”
come and go
“At that moment,” continues Carmen, “I had some tools that allowed me to react with integrity, strength, and anger, but gradually slimming job, It created doubts and insecurity in me, weakened you enough to destroy you, and you can’t say enough anymore, you blame yourself and you justify it.”
Of course, it wasn’t always like that, he was hypocritical: “You’re running yes, but heads and tails worked with the double stimulus and came back saying ‘excuse me’, ‘forgive me’, ‘how much. I love you’, ‘You are the best in the world’, It confused me and made me go back. I didn’t realize that he was deliberately trying to hurt me, instead that he needed help and I wanted to give it to him. It’s a physically and psychologically complex plot.”
And of course, about a year after starting the relationship, she went from verbal to physical attacks. “I remember, we were on vacation in Stockholm and in the middle of an argument I don’t remember why, he pushed me against the wall. He grabbed my neck and lifted me one meter off the ground. Felt like I was drowning, I struggled to get him to save me, and I quickly caught a plane. But the physical was the least important, the struggles and scuffles seem almost irrelevant to me next to the emotional suffering.
Months later, without completing the two-year relationship, the fateful day came. The night before March 12, 2010, Carmen had already feared the worst: “When you know the bad guy just by his looks, he stood out like in horror movies. I saw from his gaze that he was coming home. Something inside him transformed it. I don’t remember why the argument started, but it scared me a lot because he started throwing things and breaking them. I called my aunt who came but told her to go and fell asleep. When I woke up the next day with a start, I saw him in bed and did not dare to move in case he would wake up. But he did, and I saw him continue with the same devastating and frightening look, I was horrified, I knew something was going to happen. I went downstairs and locked myself in the bathroom. After a while, I heard him open the door of the house, call the elevator and close it. I commented that he was gone. I waited for a while and when there was no sound, I opened the bathroom door. The last thing I remember is that I found him there and he told me if he was going to work. I went three floors down, jumped off the terrace.”
A long and difficult process
Carmen spent seven months at the Arthritis Hospital in Toledo and tried to assume that a loved one was trying to kill her, thinking she had “short-circuited” her. On an emotional level, physically I just thought “I can’t do it: I won’t be able to travel, I won’t be able to be a mother, I won’t be able to play sports… what is the meaning of life? It was a process, I was slowly learning about new circumstances and I realized that this is a life in another format that can’t stop me from doing all this.”
The following years were spent in therapy, “it’s a long and difficult process,” says Carmen, “it makes you realize that an obstacle is not just a limitation, it’s also a hindrance. a source of empowerment and growth in many ways, personal and professional. It’s not because he’s the champion of Spain despite his injury, but because of him.”
So what happened to him, the attacker? Another horror: “My case was dismissed for lack of evidence, but this is no exception. According to the annual report by the CGPJ, 42% of cases in 2021 dismissal The investigating judge assessed that there was no evidence, but a great deal of evidence.”
another way of life
Life went on for Carmen, who decided to approach the matter differently, not turn to counselling, marry another man, and get pregnant with her eldest daughter, now 9 years old. “I decided that I wanted to be with him. She took very good care of him in the wheelchair, It’s a matter of organizing logistics, resources and tools, and evaluating things in another way. For example, because I have hands and feet, I carried it on the street with a handkerchief, and I was the car.”
But how could she trust a man again? “It hasn’t been easy, and an instinctive and primitive fear of the male sex remains to this day. But people are gaining their trust and their position. Fear does not immobilize or paralyze me because I manage it, but I always have it, I accept it”.
a new fear
Unfortunately, this is not the only tragedy in Carmen’s life. She broke up with her daughter’s father and had another relationship years later” and my son Bruno was born and died September 4, 2018. I went into labor at 34 weeks, started feeling bad and called 112. After four calls and 62 minutes of waiting, the premature baby was born at home in perfect condition – weighing 2,490 pounds, measuring 49 centimeters – but without the necessary lung maturation. He reached the hospital alive, but did not survive.”
At this point in the conversation, the question is unavoidable: You’re going to tell yourself over and over why you love everything, right? “No, I don’t know because it’s so devastating and I learned to build, not destroy. But where does this power come from? “From myself, everything we need is within itself. With this learning, I was able to face everything and internalize that life is a gift, that it makes sense in all formats, and that things are for a reason, not for a reason. That way everything makes sense.”
Careers and new challenges
And what’s more, he created the hashtag when a group of friends screen-printed Bruno’s hand and footprints on t-shirts. #RunforBruno and started running with them in different cities of the world. “They told me I should join, I started and now I’m Spanish champion and I’m preparing for the Seville marathon for February.” Furthermore, Carmen founded an athletics club. run for you and a foundation of the same name that supports tailored athletics practice.
His new challenge is the appointment of Adecco as ambassador to fight for inclusion through employment, and he does so through sport as well. Because, for Carmen, wheelchair is on his heels and athletics is his skating.
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