Journalist who reported sexual harassment in channel El Salvador, he fled the country for fear

Cuarta entrega, por Carmen Rodríguez

In 2017, in United States, allegations of sexual harassment made 70 women against Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, They Shook American society. further, other charges, of this type, reached prominent characters long considered untouchable by the positions of power they wielded.

In consecuense, "Me Too" and its domino effect in Spain, Argentina and France, They began to raise awareness among women about the importance of breaking the silence and denounce their aggressors.

But nevertheless, in El Salvador, two journalists who reported suffering sexual harassment in a television channel, they marked the life. both, disappointed, They desisted from continuing the formal process because they were not heard by the Salvadoran authorities. One of them had to leave the country because of threats.

"Yes I reported, but I did not take importance. I went to the Prosecutor's Office anonymously and the Ministry of Labor, I identified there and said that Mr. (Roberto Hugo Preza) I was harassed and they said they would monitor ", says Maria, one of the journalists who shared his testimony during the investigation conducted Voice of Diaspora between February and October of this year and that following complaints had to flee El Salvador for a series of events that made him fear for his life.

Mary told me that she was harassed by the director of the channel where he worked. Also he said, that while this was happening and she refused to insinuations, It was approached by gang, in one of the violent scenes that the director of denouncing, He sent her to give media coverage.

"The gangsters stopped me once and asked me 'what about the channel" and I said "we know where you work'… I was also told, that the sting as to who plays like a Trickle, fellow cameraman killed. They knew I was working on a media ", says journalist.

frightened, Mary reported on channel what had happened and also, let him know your boss, Roberto Hugo Preza, that gang members had addressed. The answer that Mary received from him, the he shivered with dread.

"He told me: "I can talk to the leader of them do not harass. I have contact with mere, mers there and I can talk to them, but as I say, everything has a price"… I was scared, but giving my dignity in exchange did not want to work things out ", journalist continues.

Almost at the same time, He stresses that caused sexual harassment, the anguish that gave every time Preza sent her to a coverage area gangs and labor recharge, Mary says was the result of his refusal to insinuations, They took their toll and caused a nervous breakdown.

Intimidation in hospital

"All this affected me. I was mentally unbalanced, I did not want to go to work, he was afraid of him. I did not want to go through his office so I would not call ... I was afraid ... afraid. I was afraid that threatened; and so many times, when he was in a bad mood I called and assigned me extra things. It was a panic that I felt called me to his office ", journalist says haltingly.

He fears that Mary had, was founded and was the same fear felt Selena and Juan Carlos, the other two journalists interviewed during this investigation. Well, "He boasted that he had contacts, Oh okay, who said he had, in the prosecution and police. I do not know if he did intimidate or if that was the world in which he moves between corrupt people ", says the journalist.

His health was broken. Mary went to the General Hospital and from there, his condition, They referred her to the Policlinico Arce, of the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security (Ishshs), where treat medical conditions related to impaired mental health, such as depression, or anxiety caused by extreme stress.

"When I went to see I was wrong. He walked shakily, doctors told me I had tachycardia, He walked all wrong. When I went to the psychiatrist, I began to mourn and mourn not stop ... then I told him why I felt so much and began to mourn, I told him I could not stand what was happening and had wanted to run and flee, because this man harassing me. I said it was not fair that people like this gentleman will take advantage of others by their need to work ... ", journalist account.

Mary spent 24 days in the hospital for this crisis. But nevertheless, her ordeal was not over. A week after having been admitted to the medical center, News Director, the same to which sexual harassment complaint, He came to visit with the head of Human Resources of the channel.

"It was a surprise for me to see the two. Mrs. Xiomara came to the hospital with this guy (Hugo Preza). She gave me words of encouragement. That man scared me ... and as if he had done nothing, he came to tell me that he knew Vanda Pignato (the former First Lady) I was in the hospital and asked me to talk to her, to make me her friend, to extract information, so that after it's happened to him ... I told them that the hospital visit was not pleasant and I did not want to see that gentleman ".

Mary continues: "I felt awful that day. Knowing that the situation was so spent with him there in the channel, He came to the hospital ". When she left the hospital and returned to his work, sexual harassment stopped for a while. But nevertheless, "After one month, he returned to the same. He told me once he could pay me an apartment to me and to my son so he would not kill me so much… I was tired of it ... ".

Intimidation in exile

In the hospital, several officials of the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women (ISDEMU), who visited the former First Lady, they heard about the case of Mary and addressed.

"ISDEMU took me a statement, when they arrived at the hospital. I was told to put a formal and non-anonymous complaint and that they would accompany me, but I was afraid and no longer talked more with them, because he had already denounced and did not pay me interest ", journalist account, When I asked if the institution had followed his case.

Indeed, the former director of the ISDEMU, Yanira Argueta confirmed that it received the statement of journalist and also, which they corroborated the reason he was in the hospital. But he also explained, without a formal complaint of victims, the institution is hands tied when formally act in such cases.

After that, Maria disappeared and did not communicate or the ISDEMU, or their contacts, He spoke with journalist Audiovisual UCA, David Pérez, to share his testimony and the hearing that the material would not be published, He despaired be protected and desisted from seeking help or legal assistance.

Months later he decided to flee the country. But the man whom she identifies as her stalker, which he caused the trauma and fear not left alone. "I was about five days after arriving where I am and he communicated with me. He told me: "Mrs, How is it going? Where is it?». I also said that if I needed anything, he had contacts in other countries ".

Before ending the conversation asked Mary, do you feel now that is far and has had all happened and she answers me: "I'm scared. I'm scared, for my family. I worry a lot, I start thinking that something bad might happen to them because they told everything that happened. But I also believe that women have to unite and denounce ".