Friday, January 21

Wounded languages ​​| Babelia | THE COUNTRY

Argentine writer Belén López Peiró.
Argentine writer Belén López Peiró.ALEJANDRA LÓPEZ

Literature has become in recent years a space for the exchange of experiences, an agora where anyone can speak and give voice to himself, herself, exposing a relationship in some way conflictive with the world. Literature has grown as a democratic space (Olga Tokarczuk pointed out in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize winner). Never in the history of humanity have so many people posited as narrators of their lives, so that we have an increasingly holistic and co-responsible knowledge of the reality that inhabits us.

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In recent months, several books have been published that maintain a unity, the same theme that crosses them and determines the motivation for their writing. Three of them are: Why did you come back every summer Veal Y The girl on the ice floe cited in order of appearance in Spanish publishers, although the original editions of the first and last date from 2018. The theme in the three books is the same, sexual abuse, the violations suffered by the three protagonists in different contexts, but with consequences very similar in which their narrators deepen. Because it is the consequences that have been a serious problem in their lives.

On Why did you come back every summer Argentinean Belén López Peiró evokes the sexual abuse suffered in her adolescence, from 13 to 17 years old, by her uncle, a police commissioner, a 150-kilo big man who with a thousand excuses takes advantage of the loneliness in which the young man in the house (his mother works a lot and she barely sees her) to force her: he lies on the bed, imprisons her between his knees and with one hand he fondles her while with the other he masturbates. If the young woman tries to get up by leaning on her elbows, he uses one of his hands to immobilize her head and then the victim has enough to keep breathing.

Writing is democratized. Never in history have so many people nominated themselves as narrators of their lives

The title comes from an event that concurs with the following book. In other words, the mother trusts her sister’s family so that her daughter spends summers with them, since the mother does not have vacations: “And so [a su madre] you gave me every summer. It was a package that you deposited in December, after finishing school, and removed in March, all taken [jodida]”.

Aurora Freijo Corbeira.
Aurora Freijo Corbeira.David Marco Visual (ANAGRAMA EDITORIAL)

On The veal, by Aurora Freijo Corbeira, a five-year-old girl is a regular victim of touching and masturbating by a neighbor on the stairs. We speak of a humble neighborhood, of houses with open doors that invite promiscuity. The girl stays in the care of the neighbor many afternoons and sometimes returns home with her skirt turned upside down —the back, front—, but no one pays attention to that detail, so revealing of a piece of clothing that does not stop as soon as the son of this neighbor, supposedly the girl’s caretaker, a single man, a butcher by profession (hence the title), sees the scene clear and solicitously pushes her towards the bathroom of the house, which for her will be the room of the hurt. But while in Why did you come back every summer the narrator’s testimony alternates with other voices that have something to say about the case and with the judicial documentation to which her complaint gave rise, Veal it opens and closes with the impunity of the aggressor.

The third, The girl on the ice floe, Faced with the repetition of the abuses in the two previous cases, he refers to only one sexual assault. A nine-year-old girl, the daughter of a wealthy family, is deceived by a guy who, when she enters the house, continues to give her a pretext. He raises her to a higher floor and forces her on the same ladder, causing her hymen to rupture and a centimeter and a half dilation of the vulva, totally abnormal in a girl her age, as the gynecological inspection carried out the next day will show. because the parents immediately denounce what happened when they saw the deplorable state in which their daughter arrives. In all this, the man has lost himself in anonymity. However, it will be located by the police years later, as it was a modus operandi which kept repeating. In this way, Adélaïde Bon, after years of therapies of all kinds, manages to face the traumatic event and the man who caused it. She learns to come back to herself after years of running, eating disorders, and self-destructive drives.

La francesa Adélaïde Bon, in 2018.
La francesa Adélaïde Bon, in 2018.Philippe Matsas EDITORIAL ANAGRAMA

The three stories, being narratively very different — López Peiró’s more aseptic and documentary, Freijo’s more literary, Bon’s more combative — maintain the same pattern. The three authors write about the panic that for years they have felt when evoking any detail of what happened, its impossible verbalization because the objectification of what happened to them was not within their reach. The three authors were victims of the most frequent type of rape with children or adolescents. The one in which there is no more physical violence than strictly sexual violence exerted by perhaps sick beings, perhaps emptied of all humanity, on other defenseless than in the face of aggression, wrapped in words and attitudes of interest and gift that do not correspond to the acts are paralyzed. There will be no blood, no apparent wounds, no screaming, and no sperm remains in the vagina.

Of many childhood aggressions there is no tangible evidence. What happened dissolves like smoke, but the impact of the aggression is so disproportionate to the thinking of a girl that it manages to colonize her mind until it fosters a confusion responsible for later feelings of shame and guilt. Had they really liked how their attackers told them to ensure impunity by sowing mistrust in the victims?

From now on they will see their sexuality expropriated because the traumatized memory will block desire, transforming their bodies into frozen surfaces, closed to pleasure, confused, fearful. Is child rape a subject that can be dealt with in a literary way? It is not easy to answer this question, but let’s think about another: who can warn of the immorality of an act if it is not by elevating his personal case to the category of the public?

Why did you come back every summer. Belén López Peiró. The Outskirts, 2020. 135 pages. 15.95 euros.

Veal. Aurora Freijo Corbera. Anagram, 2021. 128 pages. 16.90 euros.

The girl on the ice floe. Adélaïde Bon. Translation by Cristina Zelich. Anagram, 2021. 248 pages. 19.90 euros.

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