A Young Actress is Beaten in the Street in Camaguey: Her Aggressor is Still Free

The young woman, Virgin Martinez, was assaulted after rejecting the sexual pretensions of a stranger who approached her on the street. (Cuba Time)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 September 2019 — A week before she turned 20, actress Virgen Martinez was attacked by a man in Alameda Street in the town of Céspedes in the province of Camagüey.

The events occurred near the town service store, after Martínez greeted an acquaintance who was accompanied by a man. When the actress tried to continue her way alone, the individual began to rudely harass her.

As she initially told the publication La Hora de Cuba, the young woman demanded that the man move away but he continued to approach her while speaking in a disrespectful tone. “He was getting near to me to do whatever he wanted,” she recalls now, still under the trauma of what happened.

Martinez slapped the subject and kicked him but the man took her by the hair and threw her against the ground. “I hit the sidewalk and cut my forehead,” she says. As she got up, the individual grabbed her and took a bite on her face near her mouth. Finally the young woman was able to escape from the aggressor when he let her go when he saw that a group of people were approaching the place.

Now Virgin has an injured leg due to a blow in the kneecap and in the provincial hospital of Camagüey they put a bandage on her to immobilize the injured part. She will be like this for at least eight days and the doctors still have not given her an exact date of when she will be able to return to work.

The young woman is an actress of the Teatro del Espacio Interior group and in the play they are now rehearsing, directed by Mario Junquera titled La caza del caimán (The Alligator Hunt), there are only three actors. The character played by Martínez is precisely that of a battered woman in a story that takes place in the context of the closure of several sugar factories.

The actress told this newspaper that now her main task is to “lift her spirits” and she has been very worried about the possible scars on her face. “I work with my image, with my body. My knee has to be fine because I need to have mobility in my work, I have to show my face and I have been affected by an ugly bite in the area of my mouth.”

The alleged aggressor, a man of some 35 years, denies the events. He lives in Céspedes, where the young woman goes frequently. In the complaint that the police wrote after Martinez’s statements, they recorded what happened as only “minor injuries.”

Now, she fears that the man will assault her again. “I don’t know how those things work, I thought they should have him under arrest, but he’s still on the street because he paid a bail of 1,000 Cuban pesos,” she says.

In Cuba there are no official statistics of aggressions against women or feminicides. According to National Assembly of People’s Power deputy Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of former president Raúl Castro, these crimes based on gender do not occur on the Island “thanks to the Revolution.”

 However, with the extension of new technologies, greater access to social networks and the existence of numerous independent media, complaints of harassment and attacks against women are frequent.

Recently the public complaint made by Dianelys Alfonso against the musician José Luis Cortés, El Tosco, for alleged verbal, physical and sexual abuse opened the Pandora’s box of the Cuban Me Too and in a few days hundreds of signatures were added to a letter in support of singer.

The current legislation does not specify sexist violence and the Criminal Code does not recognize aggravating factors of this kind. The cases of women who die at the hands of their partners are addressed in court like any other homicide.

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