Almost no one who commented on those images knew her. Some did not even live in Mexico. But the macabre game of social networks managed that the hardest episode of her short life – at that time she was only 16 years old – has accompanied her relentlessly until now. Ainara Suárez has denounced this week four wealthy young people from the Mexican capital for gang rape and two more, including a well-known youtuber, Yoseline Hoffman (YosStop, JustYoss), for child pornography. In an interview with EL PAÍS, he recounts the hell that he has lived through for almost three years in which the video of that aggression circulated on all platforms, among strangers and also among relatives. A long and painful process that he now decides to relate: “It took me a while to say: ok, they raped me”.
Suárez, now 19, attended the party on May 25, 2018. And as she recounted in the complaint she made public on Wednesday, four boys raped her with a bottle of champagne and recorded and disseminated the video among their acquaintances. The case escalated to greater controversy when YosStop he echoed the aggression and insulted her in front of his millions of followers. The scene of an underage girl completely naked and being attacked by this group of young people mercilessly circulated through all kinds of pornography websites.
Ask. How it all started?
Answer. Nicolás and Axel — two of the four defendants — were going to a friend of mine’s school, so she more or less placed them there. One day he invited me to a meeting at Axel’s house and I was like, “Well, it goes.” This guy was a friend’s ex-boyfriend but it didn’t end badly with her or it was a toxic relationship or anything. I never thought anything bad was going to happen. I mean, never. At no point did I have a feeling of: “Chance I shouldn’t go, because I don’t know, it’s weird ”.
P. Then he arrived at that house on May 25, 2018 …
R. I arrived and there were, I think, like 15 people or so, I’m not sure. There were obviously these four. There were more, also a couple of girls. And then there were some bottles, there was vodka, there was tequila… And the truth is, I don’t know when the other people left, I don’t remember many things. But there was a time when they and two other children were not involved … And me. I don’t remember when … or how, but we ended up in the living room, on the ground floor. I remember my dad stopping by for me, around 5.30 in the morning. I was going to go to an engagement in the morning, around 7:00.
P. At what point did you realize what had happened?
R. It was until the next day or two later that I got the video. I got a message from a friend of mine who also had friends in common with them and he said to me like: “Wey, what the fuck with your video?”. And I was like this: “What are you talking about? What video?”. And he sent it to me. And I saw it, and I said like, “No, it’s not me, I don’t remember doing that.” In fact, in the video you can’t see my face, my face is covered up, and I have a scar because they operated on my appendix and in the video you can’t see the scar, so I said: “No, there is no way that is me , is someone else. I didnot do that”. And from there I began to receive a lot of messages of “what did you do?”. A week later it started to rain hate (hate messages) on Instagram from girls who were her friends, telling me that I was a whore and that she had sold me. And that he had done it for three packs of cigarettes …
P. And where does that story about the packs come from?
R. I have no idea, I guess they just started saying that to justify it: “And how it was sold, well, she’s a whore.” I guess what they wanted was to look very cool with the rest. And at that moment like everyone believed them.
P. At that time, was the video only circulating among acquaintances or had it already been broadcast on the Internet?
R. No, at that time I don’t think they published it yet. Then I think like in August they published it on Xvideos. Then they lowered it, I think last year, but it was there a ratote… And many people got it from there, and they began to send it to me for anything. If i had a problem horses with someone, it was like, “Oh yeah, but look what you did.” And they sent it to me, and they sent it to me, and they sent it to me …
P. It was something that haunted her …
R. It was very strange. It even affected life in my house. More than my parents, because they supported me one hundred percent all the time. But for example I have a younger brother, two years younger than me. It affected him horrible, to the point that I could not turn around to see without tell me mother. So I had an almost non-existent relationship with my brother, and before that we were always super close. Also most of my friends told me: “Wey, it’s not that bad, you’re exaggerating a good one. I mean, get over it ”. And it was like: I don’t know how they expect me to get through this like it never happened, when it’s really affecting every aspect of my life.
It was no longer just the subject of rape, it was made extremely public. And I was not ready. There came a point where I accepted that the video was going to stay there. I mean, there is nothing I can do to erase that from all over the Internet. It’s not like it keeps coming to me. I know it’s still there but they don’t follow me anymore fucking with that. It is difficult to know that surely people have it and very sick people enjoy it. That causes me an impressive conflict.
P. How was the process of asking your parents for help?
R. I never told my parents. They got the video …
[Unos meses después de aquella fiesta, en agosto, unas amigas de los jóvenes acusados quedaron con Suárez en un parque en el sur de la capital. La discusión terminó en una pelea y Suárez duramente golpeada. Todo fue también grabado en video y las imágenes se hicieron tan virales que la youtuber YosStop las retomó, contó que tenía el video de la violación e insultó a Suárez en ese canal. Desde entonces, el caso tomó un nuevo impulso y el video de la violación corrió por todas las plataformas].
When the fight went viral, my mother put a post on Facebook and thousands of messages began to arrive and in one of those messages came the video of that night. And well, she showed it to my father and they were the ones who contacted my first lawyer in 2018. First they just wanted to file a complaint about the fight and then the lawyer we went with said: “No, but aside, this it is rape ”. And we started with that, but my sanity couldn’t take it. We went to the Prosecutor’s Office a couple of times, it was horrible, I mean, I couldn’t. And I quit. I stopped answering the lawyer, I had an appointment to be done as a psychological exam and I did not go. I said, “I can’t, bye, with permission, bye”.
P. Until that moment, he was still not aware of what had happened to him …
R. Well, it took me a while to be able to say: “Ok, yes it’s me.” And it took me even longer to say, “Okay, they raped me.” It was a strange process, I was not at a good point. And yes, it was horrible to realize that yes that happened to me, yes it is me. But it did not happen as they are telling: what happened was a violation.
The net I am lucky that my family is quite open on most issues. I don’t come from a religious or virgin family until marriage, or anything like that. And I feel like that was a plus, because they did not judge me for that part, for having taken, or for having “put me in that situation”, as many people told me to say: “It was your fault”. My parents never, never thought that way. They were always fully aware that I did nothing.
P. What was she telling herself about all this harassment?
R. I think it really helped remind me of my worth. Because that of: “You are only worth three packs of cigarettes, that’s what you are worth”, is hard. Knowing that this is not true, that I am worth much more. And I’m much stronger than all of you, because you couldn’t handle this.
P. When Hoffman talked about you on YouTube and the case became even more public, what did you think?
R. I believe that no one should judge another person for uploading photos naked, in panties, in a bathing suit or for how they decide to live their sex life. If it had been the case that I had allowed it, that it had been consented, you still have no right to tell me that I am a whore. No matter how much a woman enjoys her sex life or dresses as she likes, teaching or not teaching, no one has the right to judge her, much less touch or rape her. No one.
P. Do you think that with a feminist movement stronger than ever in Mexico that message has not penetrated enough in your generation?
R. At that time, not at all. It was the time when everyone said feminazi nobody cared about the subject anymore. Right now I think we are much more aware that this is wrong. Right now it is much less accepted, I think. Seeing cases of other girls who went through something similar, but in 2020 or 2021, who have received much more support, the net gives me great pleasure. Obviously there are still people who are not clear, but I feel that there are fewer people than before.
P. At what point do you decide to resume the complaint?
R. Well, almost a year ago I uploaded some TikToks speaking more than the rape, the YosStop video. And that’s where Samantha Cerisola contacted me [de la ONG FemxFem] to get in touch with the lawyers. And I said, “Well, I feel ready, I have this opportunity.” It was a long process psychologically. There were times when I thought: “In Mexico nothing will happen, goal or no goal complaint, it doesn’t matter.” Later, I got more into feminism and saw how stories of other women and girls inspired others. I think that if I also raise my voice I can inspire. And regardless of whether they go to jail or whatever happens to them, I can help more women to have the courage to report. And that’s what motivates me the most to continue with this.
P. What would you like to see happen now?
R. I really do not know. I just know that I want it to go as far as it can go. I don’t have an end in mind chance that’s not so good. But I know I want to finish it and whatever the result is, I’m fine with it, because I know I’m doing well… Obviously I would love for them to rot in jail, but if they can’t, that’s fine too.
P. What would you have liked to say to yourself three years ago?
R. You know what? Nothing happens. He was from the shit. Is of the shit, and yes it will hurt. But you will be better. And it will give you a much clearer idea of who you are and what you want to do. I know and I am very aware that it was not my fault, but there is also that voice in my head that tells me: “You could have done something different.” What makes me feel a bit guilty the most is that that day I had another party with my best friend. And it’s like, if I had decided to go to that party, none of this would have happened. I also know that I would not be the person I am now.
[La denuncia de Suárez se ha convertido en una muestra inusual para la realidad que sufren miles de mexicanas en el país. La cifra negra, sobre los casos que no llegan a denunciarse, es de más de un 99%. Entre julio y diciembre de 2019 se abrieron 2.364 carpetas de investigación en México por el delito de violación, mientras que la Encuesta de Seguridad Pública (del Instituto Nacional de Estadística) estima que 363.768 mujeres fueron víctimas de este delito durante el mismo periodo. De manera que la gran mayoría o no se denuncia o ni siquiera se abre un caso en la Fiscalía.].
Subscribe here to newsletter of EL PAÍS México and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of this country
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.