This week a new protest has shocked Chile, this due to the case of Antonia Barra, a young woman who was sexually abused and ended up taking her own life. When the night of July 22, a judge granted house arrest to the man accused of raping Antonia, the protests soon appeared in several cities in the country.
Antonia Barra has become an icon in Chile, for reflecting the terrible consequences that rape victims are left with. The young Chilean woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by Martín Pradenas, 28, who has denied the act.
Last Wednesday, judge Federico Gutiérrez ordered house arrest for the accused, raised the anger of the population who, led by the feminist group La Tesis, took to the streets to sing the famous hymn «a rapist on your way«. The magistrate alleged that there was not enough evidence to prove the crime. Despite the fact that there is a video in which Pradenas is seen pulling Antonia Barra’s arm as they walk.
The defendant Martín Pradenas would have other complaints about four of rape, among the victims there is a minor, two of these were opened in 2010 and 2014 are prescribed because in the country these types of complaints prescribe after five years.
The Court of Appeals for the city of Temuco reviewed the decisions made by the first instance and responded to the request of the prosecution, revoking Praderas home prison, replacing it with a preventive prison, alleging that the accused was a danger to society.
The last hearing was broadcast through the Parliament’s online signal, reaching more than a million viewers. This at the request of her father, Alejandro Barra, who assured that the more visibility the case has, the more Chilean girls and women seek help and will be able to denounce their rapists, an opportunity that Antonia did not have.
What happened to Antonia Barra?
The 20-year-old girl traveled through National Holidays to Pucón, along with a friend and her boyfriend. In a disco on September 17, the young woman met Martín Pradenas, investigations have found videos of the moment in which Pradenas approaches Antonia, in addition to videos of how Antonia is forced to leave the place with him.
Antonia Barra would wake up in a cabin that the accused would have rented, with great fear of telling someone what had happened, as there would be evidence that the young woman was afraid to report the subject due to the reaction of her parents, whom she wanted to protect.
The young woman decided to accuse Martín Pradenas on October 12, 2019, telling the facts to her ex-boyfriend Rodrigo Canario, who would have insulted her and recorded Antonia’s testimony and then sent him to her other friends. A day later Antonia Barra sent him a farewell message and he committed suicide.
Antonia would not have endured the trauma of the rape and, having not found help from the people she trusted, decided to kill herself, opening a social outbreak that began on October 18, 2019.
Antonia’s father, Alejandro Barra, found out about the events by checking his cell phone after his unfortunate death. “She did not want to give her parents problems. He did not want the father to know, to go knock on the door of the accused and give him the kick he deserves. It was weeks, and my daughter never stated what was happening. Medicine explains the behavior of a raped woman, which takes time to report what happened to her. Given that, we had no chance to act”, said the young woman’s father in an interview with BBC Mundo.
He also added, “Today I think: how many girls are the same as my daughter, who, out of shame at the exhibition, to which they are targeted, do not report. A girl must be applauded because she dares to report a criminal! That is what I want to achieve. Because my daughter lacked that I and the whole society told her: everything has a solution. I say to the girls: if something like this happens to them, tell them. Do not think that they are going to write them down, that they are going to appear on the networks because all that can be solved. Everything, except death”.