17 Febrero 2017 16:14
'How are you, paedophile? Do you admit everything you did to me? The 18 years of sexual abuse? Do you admit you're a paedophile?'
That's the start of the video uploaded to Facebook by Romina Balaguer, a 35-year-old Argentinian woman who now lives in Barcelona. In the nine-minute clip Romina gets her father, Antonio Cisneros, to confess to having sexually abused her during 18 years.
After suffering from depression for many years – even attempting suicide – Romina decided to travel to Olavarría, the Argentine city where she spent her childhood. She was determined to find and confront her father over the abuse she had suffered at his hands. The woman filmed the encounter with her phone and posted it to Facebook a few days later. It quickly went viral, and has now been viewed more than 500,000 times, causing shockwaves across Argentina.
The video shows Romina interrogating her father about the rapes and abuses he inflicted on her. All while he continues to eat calmly. Romina gets her father to confess to his actions : 'I raped you... I sexually abused you for several years.' When she asked why he carried out the abuse, he replied: 'Because my mind is polluted.'
The young woman still takes medication for the trauma she suffered as a result of her father's actions. She has also accused her mother of having done nothing to stop the abuse. 'You made my life hell and you ruined it forever,' Romina repeats during the video.
The video quickly went viral, and has now been viewed more than 500,000 times, causing shockwaves across Argentina.
Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the video is not the confession itself, but the calm and cold demeanor of Romina's father throughout. At one point he asks, 'Does that thing record well?'
Cisneros seems aware that although he might now be a social pariah, his actions are not likely to lead to criminal prosecution because the crimes he is accused of happened too long ago, meaning Romina's charges against him are time-barred. So far, prosecutor Susana Alonso has been unable to issue a warrant for Cisneros's arrest.
Nonetheless, Romina's video has drawn attention to the serious problem of domestic abuse in Argentina and to the powerlessness of victims.
Romina's confrontation with her father and the confession she was able to obtain from him have encouraged other domestic abuse victims to share their personal experiences of gender violence. It also inspired a demonstration on the streets of Olavarría to condemn sexual violence in the South American nation.