Journalists denounce sexual harassment in television in El Salvador

Reference photo: Pixabay.
First delivery, by Carmen Rodriguez

Unfair and arbitrary sentencing in El Salvador, where three judges ruled that touching a girl 10 years, It is not a crime, but a lack of good manners caused outrage in the country.

But, sexual offenses occur not only on the street, They are also alarming in labor areas. Last year, Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights in El Salvador, He revealed that 100% Women who practice journalism in the country, or they are working for companies related to the news industry, They have been victims of sexual harassment.

This is not a secret. Journalists talk to each other what happens and also identify stalkers and predators who use their high positions or headquarters to harass and go unpunished. Something so do men, fellow journalists.

Even worse, not formally denounce journalists, for fear of losing their jobs, for fear of ridicule on social networks and worse, for fear of passing a process that remain unsupported by the institutions of the state and the companies they work.

For these reasons, three women journalists tell their story anonymously. They say they were victims of sexual harassment in the same workplace.

Voice of Diaspora conducted an investigation between February and October this year, based on interviews with three journalists who were harassed, a senior official of the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women (ISDEMU), From El Salvador, and testimony from journalists and colleagues and lawyers, which they will be presented in a report in two installments.

Open secret

"The harassment began two months after he started working on the channel. A working in this medium, one ends up getting used to being told things that do not want to hear. He got behind me, I said things to the ear, I pulled her chin to kiss me and tell me, when I would go out with him ... I loved and when he would ignore ", Selena account, fictitious name, experiodista Channel 21, who says he was harassed by her immediate supervisor director.

Another experiodista of the same channel, whom we will call Mary and who was interviewed in this research, also he recounted his experience and said his attacker:

"I suffered sexual harassment and labor by the news director, Roberto Hugo Preza. He tried to kiss me, I am trying to ask me out and always telling him not, I overloaded with work. I called his office and invited me to lunch or dinner, when I told him not, I had to be with my family, he told me was only going to be a time of relaxation ".

The irony of the case is that, last week, News Director, to which these journalists say as his stalker, He received an award from the Legislature, for his "contribution to the Salvadoran society and for their work". Last year, also he was given the same recognition, as "meritísimo son" of the country, by MPs.

Sexual harassment is a crime in El Salvador

According to Salvadoran lawyers, harassment is any action which may include signs, phrases, expressions or actions with sexual connotation. further, Special Cyber ​​Crimes Act includes an offense, harassment from social networks, which can be: Sending messages, sending photos, messages with sexual innuendo.

If someone kisses a woman, It can not only be harassment, according to Salvadoran law. The action could be also considered a more serious crime. If the purpose of a man is just "steal a kiss" the action is a crime of sexual harassment, But if the goal of "stealing that kiss" goes beyond and woman is forced with the intention of having sex, this can be considered a sexual assault or even attempted rape.

Indeed, according to the article 165 of the Criminal Code Salvadoran, Sexual harassment is a crime and its perpetrator can be sentenced from three to five years in prison. And if the harassment is committed by someone in a position of "superiority caused for any reason" shall be punishable by fine, in addition to years in prison.

But nevertheless, Figures compiled by the Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace (Ormus to), indicate that only 20% cases are reported and suffered, what, also, in the workplace there is complicity, because people who observe harassment or keep silence address this problem burlesque. Some journalists refer to the issue of bullying as "proof of the microphone" and make jokes to respect.

A subculture to "fit"

"Complicity is part of cover to the harasser, I must say that there are women who are complicit in these abuses to the silence. And complicity is because establishing mechanisms to justify or reverse responsibility and blames women. It is said that they dress provocatively or they brought it upon themselves by giving rise to the harasser that the hounding ", Ima explains Guirola of the Institute for the Study of Women (CEMUJER).

"I witnessed some things that happened in the channel. Did not take me more because I would not let him, but there were attempts to kiss me, he got close, invading my personal space ... this was done in front of others, He made it public. He takes advantage of pretty girls who come to look for an opportunity ", says Natalia, another experiodistas who report harassment.

In addition to these cases, during this investigation a similar case was discovered, in United States, in which he was also appointed news director of Canal 21. According to some sources, Preza was working for a chain Mexican news when it happened here and to avoid facing a demand in the US territory, He returned to El Salvador.

Although the fact was checked, the journalist who was bullied, He preferred not to speak respect; it ensures that the time she reported the situation to the directors of the news where she toiled and Preza, in Los Angeles, California, harassment ceased, because he was warned of legal action, if continued harassment.

Voice of Diaspora, He communicated with Roberto Hugo Preza, to respect the signs. The journalist also decided not to give any statement and said he was unaware about.

morning, in the second installment of this issue, present versions of some coworkers that confirm the facts stated by journalists and well, statements of journalists and officials of institutions that received several reports of these and other cases of harassment, occurred in the same company.