Buenos Aires Times

argentina MOVEMENT SWEEPS NATION

#MiraComoNosPonemos: Argentines speak out against sexual abuse

Just 24 hours after explosive allegations against TV actor Juan Darthés were aired, a new movement denouncing sexual harassment and sexual assault sweeps through social networks.

Wednesday 12 December, 2018
Actress Thelma Fardín detailed allegations of rape and sexual abuse against Juan Darthés on Tuesday, at a press conference in the City.
Actress Thelma Fardín detailed allegations of rape and sexual abuse against Juan Darthés on Tuesday, at a press conference in the City. Foto:NA

Just 24 hours after explosive allegations against TV actor Juan Darthés were first aired, a new movement denouncing sexual harassment and sexual assault and showing solidarity with victims of the crimes is sweeping through social networks, using one simple hashtag: #MiraComoNosPonemos.

The Argentine movement – which carries strong echoes of the '#MeToo' movement that denounced violations against women last year and sought to highlight the widespread prevalence of such actions in the workplace and wider society – gained huge prominence in less than a day.

Thousands of women began posting their own tales of abuse and harassment on social media, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter thronging with posts on the matter and messages of solidarity for the victims.

An estimated 920,000 tweets have been posted in the last 24 hours using the '#MiraComoNosPonemos' hashtag, one website reported today, while a report on Perfil.com said that an posts denouncing alleged crimes and harassment had been engaged with (interactions, i.e. via likes, comments and shares) more than 1.8 million times on social networks in less than . day.

The phrase can be loosely translated as "Look at what you do to us," and is a reference to a phrase allegedly uttered by Darthés during the alleged attack.

On Tuesday, the Actrices Argentinas group held a high-profile press conference at which actress Thelma Fardín detailed allegations of rape and sexual abuse against Darthés, a well-known actor viewed previously as something of a heart-throb.

A further three actresses, Calu Rivero, Anita Coacci and Natalia Juncos, have also accused Darthés of sexual abuse, local outlets reported.

"Today, we say 'Enough.' The time of impunity for abusers must end," Actrices Argentinas, which brings together more than 50 well-known Argentine actors, said in a statement read out at the press conference.

The group called for greater protections for women in the industry, who they said are often subject to sexual abuse and assault. 

"We are always [left] unprotected by those who hire us, there are no protocols of action against cases of abuse," the statement continued. "We need tools to address these issues."

Speak out

In a video shown at the event, an emotional Fardín detailed the allegations against Darthés, claiming that he had sexually abused and assaulted her in Nicaragua back in 2009, when she was aged just 16.

The alleged incident happened during a tour of the successful children's TV programme Patito Feo ("Ugly Duckling"), when Fardín was one of the teenagers performing in the theatrical show, in which the elder actor, then aged 45, starred.

Fardín, who praised the support of her colleagues in the video for giving her the strength to speak out against the alleged abuse, said that she had lived with the incident for the last nine years, but was inspired to speak up when she heard others had also made claims against the actor.

In comments to the press, Darthés' lawyer, Fernando Burlando, said that the actor "denies the facts categorically and will appear in Nicaragua" to defend himself.

Darthés also strongly denied the allegations in a post on Twitter in which he thanked Burlando for listening to his side of the story.

"It is not true what was said, for God's sake!" he wrote. "It's crazy, it never happened."

Allegations

In the video, Fardín claims that Darthés began kissing her on the neck when they were in his hotel room on May 17, 2009, at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Managua.

Fardín says she told him to stop, but said instead the actor grabbed her hand and made her touch his erection, saying: "Mirá como me pones (roughly: "Look at what you do to me")."

"Then, he threw me on the bed, he pulled down my little shorts and started to give me oral sex," she alleged, speaking through tears, adding that she had repeatedly told him "No."

"I told him 'Your children are my age,'" she recalled in the video. "But he did not care, he climbed on top of me."

"[Then] he put his fingers in me and then he penetrated me," she added.

She says that a hotel employee then knocked on the door to deliver something and that she had managed to escape her alleged attacker.

The actress said that she travelled "to Nicaragua last week" and that a "complaint has been filed with the Gender Prosecutor's Office" of the Central American country.

A copy of the complaint, published by Infobae, details the allegations in similar language, whilst adding that Darthés allegedly penetrated her vagina without using a condom. It also explains that in April 2018, Fardín visited an Argentine government agency specialised in violence against women, but that she was told by a prosecutor, Mariela Labozzeta, that Argentine officials could not investigate a case that occurred outside its sovereign national territory. 

It was suggested that Fardín travel to Nicaragua to denounce the alleged crime after having met with representatives from the Nicaraguan government in Argentina. 

President speaks

Illustrating just how much the allegations had swept the country and seized the agenda, President Mauricio Macri referenced the claims in two posts on social networks. 

The president highlighted the government's campaigns to raise awareness of gender violence and revealed that he had instructed his government to take down an advertising campaign in which Darthés featured that sought to raise awareness of gender violence in Argentina.

"Out of respect for the complaint from Thelma Fardin against Juan Darthés, we have decided to remove from these networks a published [advertising] spot against gender violence that the accused was part of," he posted on Twitter.

A second tweet referred followers to a government campaign seeking to raise awareness of "all forms of violence against women."

Meanwhile, at the beginning of a session in the Senate today, tens of lawmakers put signs on their desks that read: #MiraComoNosPonemos.

- TIMES

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