A woman from Reus, recognized by the judge as a sexist victim 28 years after the abuse

“I am happy and satisfied because will I be able to access the pension after everything I've been through, ”says AS, a 65-year-old resident of Reus who will begin to collect a widow's pension for a pioneering and unusual sentence. The Social Court 1 of Reus has recognized the right after the death of her ex-husband, in 2020, and 28 years after they both divorced.

The court declares that the cause of the divorce in 1992 It would be considered, today, gender violence. Thus, his status as a victim is proven. and, therefore, you are entitled to a benefit that you would not otherwise receive.

The widow did not meet the requirements to access, because among other things he did not reach the minimum time of marriage. «I was married 15 years and there were about ten problems. What broke the camel's back was that he threatened me with a shotgun. She told my son: 'I'll charge you and you shoot'. I've had a really bad time and this, at least, is a relief», she explains.

520 euros per month plus arrears

When he died, during the home confinement of the first state of alarm, she tried to request the benefit but was denied. It is then that she tried to take the legal path, which she has now successfully settled. This pending to start charging about 520 euros a month of pension. To that are added arrears that will range between 15,000 and 16,000 euros.

The lawyer in the case, the lawyer from Tarragona, Sergi Grau, maintains that the National Institute of Social Security, as condemned by the court, has not appealed and, therefore, the collection is imminent. One of the most relevant aspects of the sentence is the fact that 28 years later the existence of gender-based violence is being recognized and, above all, the social component, very present in the resolution of the Reus court. The body accredits "the situation of gender violence in attention" simply "to what is stated in the separation sentence".

There is no criminal conviction In this regard, not even previous formal complaints, beyond the exposition made by AS in the civil procedure at the time of separation. The judge indicates that "even today, gender-based violence is shown in many cases to be silent, sparing no material or personal means by public authorities to advance in eliminating or reducing this scourge and in encouraging women to report it" . From there he adds that "it does not require a great effort of imagination to think that 20 years ago, when the actress decided to separate, the fact of denouncing acts of what we know today as gender violence, he surrounded himself with many difficulties due to the existing socio-cultural context».

The separation followed "in default of the defendant"As the magistrate points out, “and in that separation sentence, acts are described that if they were denounced today by a woman, they would be considered acts of gender violence.” Sergi Grau breaks down some of the keys: «What I point out is that if at that time, in the 90s, she already refers to the fact that she received ill-treatment, even if it was in a divorce process, it is already symptomatic. Nowadays, unfortunately, it is usual, but that he did it at the time has value ».

"The sentence opens the way for other women who suffered abuse many years ago and where there was no conviction," says Sergi Grau, lawyer in the case

for degree, opinions like this «can be a way from the point of view that violence can be proven in any way, and it opens the door for all those women who suffered abuse a long time ago and have not been convicted, perhaps now they can prove it in another way».

In this sentence of Reus, the doctrine of the Supreme Court is vital, in another resolution of January 20, 2016, which establishes that the accreditation of the situation of gender violence is not required through the means contemplated in the Organic Law 1/2004, on comprehensive protection for victims of gender violence. Therefore, this condition can be justified by any means of proof, as has been the case.

In fact, it exposes the sentence of separation that "The husband subjected the wife to insulting and humiliating behavior and that therefore his conduct constituted a serious and repeated violation of conjugal and filial duties”, which was endorsed through testimonial evidence and the examination of the youngest daughter.

It must be remembered that in 1992 there was not even LO 1/2004, on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence. "It's a professional win. We have fought a lot for them to prove us right. In addition, we started the process in the midst of a pandemic, with videoconferences and much more difficult processes, "says the lawyer.

“It is a new resolution”

Tarragona lawyer Francisco Zapater indicates that “we are facing a novel sentence. It is about the triumph of a woman who at the time, at the time of separating, had no right to anything. Now times have changed. The credit belongs to her and the lawyer, who has sought the nuances of the situation. This jurist also points to some of the effects that can be derived: «It's a precedent interesting for lawyers who deal with Social Security issues, it could be a gate through which similar requests can pass.”

“It is the triumph of a woman who, when she separated, had no right to anything”, recognizes the lawyer Francisco Zapater

Zapater maintains that "if the woman had had a conviction, she would have been able to agree, but we are not talking about a criminal sentence but about separation, the key is that this means of proof also serves to prove his condition as a victim».

Zapater puts more context: «At the time of the separation of this marriage there was a legislative contradiction, in the sense that you had to have a cause to separate, such as abandonment of the family. There were couples who had no cause but were broken. So the courts came up with a concept, which was the absence of marital affections».

The change may seem procedural but it has a very direct effect: AS from Reus breathes a sigh of relief. The pension that will begin to receive shortly will help him to continue ahead. It will be an oxygen balloon for a life marked by mistreatment and by an economic situation that has never been buoyant. «I am still working, as I have always done, all my life. I have had to raise two kids by myselfand also my ex-husband never gave me child support, ”says this lady.

Gender perspective in justice

The judge, in his resolution, takes into account the social context, assuming that the reality to denounce sexist violence was not the same 30 years ago as it is now. Some see in such decisions the application of a gender perspective in justice, seen as necessary to help combat this type of crime.

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