I always say that women in my situation are survivorsnever victims”, begins Estrella. In her case, literally. She (44 years old), a Physical Education teacher and, above all, “great warrior”, is alive by a miracle. Her story has many of the ingredients of a tragedyand a happy ending thanks to the protagonist of the movie of his life: baltothe therapy dog that came to his house from the hand of the Scan Project and that made it possible for her to become the woman she is today, free and without fear.
In 2015, Estrella thought that her then-husband had left her dead. They had been together for 18 years, 10 of them married, and almost from the beginning the mistreatment He was present indoors. “First was psychologicalbefore moving on to the slap or the hair pull cancel Y aslan until you’re alone. I became so small that I was drowning, getting deeper and deeper into the mud,” she explains.
University student, middle class and with a family that was not used to arguing, much less fighting, Estrella ended up normalizing the pushing, the pinching, the insults and the blows. I had such dependence psychological and emotional that justified them by attributing clumsiness: “A fall, an accident with a door…”, he points out. Until one day his abuser it went too far. The reason? A bouquet of flowers. “I sent him to my job and called him: ‘What a shame, everyone has applauded me, don’t do it again.’ He hung up the phone with a kiss.” And she knew something was wrong. At home everything rushed. “Before I sat down to dinner I must have poured something in my glass of my water, because it was tasting it and I felt horrible. ‘Lie down,’ she told me. The next thing I remember is having him on top of me strangling me with the hands. He cut my throat with a knife and I was almost unconscious. But when I heard the door I knew that he was going for my son, so I got up as best I could, squeezing the wound with the sheet he thought he had died and turned to me surprised: ‘I can’t leave you like this, I have to kill you‘, he told me coldly, without getting upset.
The luck that night he played his part and as he bled to death Star convinced him to ask for help. “I won’t say anything, this has been a accident”, he begged. She barely had the strength to roll her eyes at his assailant when the samur I entered the room.
an annulled woman
The rest is the shared history of so many other survivors. An ex officio trial, a restraining order – “That isolates you, not the aggressor,” he adds – and a process where you are a totally canceled: “On my knees I asked the judge not to put him in jail because he was very good,” recalls Estrella.
A woman broken inside and out: at 1.68 m tall, she barely weighed 50 kilos and was just a bundle of nerves, dark circles under her eyes and anxiety that she kept up with. antidepressants. Six months later, he nearly died again, this time from a pneumothorax as a result of the attack. “There are two, I don’t want a third,” he told himself. And that thought of hers brought her closer to the Scan Projectthe association that Enrique Cruz Simon, An economist by profession, she started in Murcia in 2004 and just a few days ago she was awarded by the Civil Guard due to her work against violence against women. “Through dog-assisted emotional therapy they provide a innovative therapy solution recovery psychosocial health of women and minors who are victims of this violence, and simultaneously prevent and protect from physical attacks by abusers”, they acknowledged from the Civil Guard when presenting her with the award.
Scan, therapy dogs
The scan project, A pioneering non-profit initiative in Spain, free of charge and carried out at a national level, arose the day that Enrique Cruz, his coordinator, he met several dog trainers who, after the murder of a woman, decided to “do something against this scourge,” he recalls, stressing that in his association animals are trained to offer Emotional Support and psychological to women, never as a defense weapon. “The goal is for them to improve their self esteemgive them freedom and help them out isolation”explains Cruz. For this, joint work is needed where the sensitivity of the psychologists and trainers who collaborate with them is essential. Many of the latter belong to the State Security Forces.
“The scan dogs They don’t wear an impact defense muzzle, like the Americans, they protect you instinctively, not because they’re trained,” he adds. Natalia Morlas, president of the association of women victims of gender violence we are more, who works with them. “The animal does not judge us, it loves us. And that is what we need. If you are wrong, the dog is with you, he is a reinforcement. It forces us to go out into the street, it makes us gain self-esteem and teaches us to have authority; allows us to feel strong and safe”, Explain. She also suffered seven years of violence silencing him behind closed doors and windows. Until one day he went out to ask for help from the stairs and everything changed. “But it’s not about report if more, to gayola door. That in a mistake just as big as hide“, she warns. The first thing, she insists, is to contact an association to help victims to prevent the situation from becoming even more dangerous or having worse consequences. “We have been through the same thing, we know what to do,” He says morlas.
‘Balto’, more than a dog
In Scan Estrella I met ‘balto’, whom he describes as “the love of his life”, a precious German shepherd who gave him the push he needed, the security and the can to change your life. “He made me a woman free, recover the person he was, the one who eats the world. I resumed my friendships, I went back to work now to live. My friends now call me Wonderwoman and they give me T-shirts and things with that merchandising on it,” she jokes.
Inseparable even in the supermarket, where ‘Balto’ I entered after accrediting it, Estrella is moved when she remembers it: She knew what was happening to me and what she had to do, she consoled me; sometimes it was Balto who walked me around and not the other way around. I am what I am thanks to him. But there is still a long way to go: Having to identify you As a victim of gender violence at the door of a store so that your dog can be let in with you, it revictimizes us: abusers don’t carry a sign saying that they are abusers, concludes Estrella.