25 years without Ana Orantes, the sexist murder that shook Spain

Four decades of mistreatment. Forty years living with horror. On December 4, 1997, Ana Orantes, aged 60, he sat on a television program and denounced it in front of the cameras. “I have spent forty years not being able to get close to a window, in case a man came and greeted me. I had to wear a high collar (…) I have received beatings one day, another and the one in between too”.

Strong and courageous, she denounced the beatings and humiliations to which she was subjected during her fateful relationship. He did it when he was already free, with conditions, the accumulated denunciations granted him separation by court order, although the ruling forced her to continue living with him. In the same house, although on different floors.

He left dozens of messages on the answering machine of ‘De tarde en tarde’, the Canal Sur program. If she went, she would help other women and, besides, she would protect herself. She got it. Before the red light came on, she told Irma Soriano, presenter at that time of the talk show. “I report it and nothing happens. Even when I say it publicly here… I’m going to have a lot of people. He won’t dare to do anything to me anymore.”

Thirteen days later, on December 17, her partner ended her life. Ana Orantes she was burned alive in her house in Granada, after being subjected to a brutal beating. A heinous crime that marked a before and after in Spain, stirred up social conscience and put a face, name, hers, on the word mistreatment, on gender violence.

Ana Orantes in the program ‘De tarde en tarde’ on Canal Sur.

The first strike

He started to speak, and he started at the beginning. Ana and her ex-husband married at the age of 19, when they had been in a relationship for three months. “My father told me: that man is not convenient. Leave that man, I don’t like him for you,” she narrated. The wedding arrived, the request for a hand, far from being pretty, announced the horror.

Sitting down, having a soda, he said: “Look, I’ve told everyone that you’re already lost. If you want to come, you come, and if not… But I I am going to raise the voice that you are like this and no other man is going to love you”. Ana agreed to marry.

It was a lie, “I went to her house as a young girl (virgin). She lived with him for three years, at home with her in-laws, forced to call them “mom and dad.” “The first night I thought: where have I gotten myself?“. The step was already taken, he could not do more (you have to look back 65 years).

The first blow came when they had been married for three months.

She became a wife and servant. “My mother-in-law had a maid, but when I arrived, she kicked her out.” From then on she would take care of Ana. In the house, a ground floor, there was no place to hang clothes, so she went back and forth to her mother’s house, the real one. “The first glove It came when I was coming back with the laundry”. He had to walk and it was far. According to her husband, she was late.

“He had gone running, when I arrived I said: I’m here. He didn’t answer me. He gave me a slap like the one they gave to the Lord. I screamed because I thought I had broken my face.” They had been married for three months.

When the days passed, Ana asked him for forgiveness. “His father, who at that time did defend me, gave him a slap, for that I apologized.” He said nothing. “She looked at me and spat at me.”

“You are illiterate”

His testimony is riddled with anguish: “you are worthless”, “you don’t know how to speak”. Physical and psychological attacks that he narrated, not without pain. “Then came the beatings. The whole thing about him was grab me by the hair, hit me against the wall. I didn’t know how to speak, because I was illiterate, because I wasn’t worth a penny. So… forty years.”

Ana Orantes, smiling in a family photo.

His children were born, he had eleven, three would die. “He came drunk and did not respect the quarantine.” Alcohol, women and gambling made up his pattern. “Came, gave me a beating. Because that glass was like this, it didn’t have to be like that. If the chair was here, the chair did not have to be here…”.

His routine, always the same: work, drink, humiliate, beat. “It was to leave the workshop and go into the tavern. Come drunk lost,” said the woman.

“If I tell you, it kills you”

His story occupied much of the program. Irma Soriano, serious, gave way to publicity; after this, Orantes continued. After one of the breaks came one of the harshest testimonies. Ana she recounted a near-death beating in which he revived her so he could hit her again. She also narrated how one of her daughters – they were all victims of the man – omitted that her father “touched her thighs.” so he wouldn’t hit her later.

“One day I come from shopping and a neighbor tells me: your daughter is in the sanatorium, she has taken a bottle of pills. I ran out to see what had happened. The doctor told me that the girl had told her that her father was touching her and that she couldn’t tell me anything because she knew that her father was killing me to beatings later”. He was not wrong, Ana asked her husband for explanations, they argued. “He hit me. I told her that if she did something to my daughter I was going to report her. And I was going to put him in jail.”

“One day he beat me to death. He said that I had not gone to the doctor, that I had gone to sleep with all the guys from the Albaicín”

The children were present in every blow, in every beating. One day, the woman said, he hit her in front of everyone because they didn’t believe that He was returning from the doctor because the child had a fever.

“While sitting, waiting to give him an injection, a lady comes in and tells me: ‘Ana, I’ve seen your husband right now, shirtless, with his face like crazy, dislocated’. ‘Oh, today he’s killing me,’ I told him. ‘Woman, if you haven’t done anything’, he answered me… “When she entered the house, at five in the afternoon, with all the children lined up in front of me,” she took the child from my arms. He dropped the medicines and stomped on them. He got tangled up with me, he beat me to death. That I had not gone to the doctor, that I had gone to sleep with all the guys from the Albaicín (Granada)“.

“Ah, well, not having danced”

Perhaps the hardest scene that Ana recounted came after a dance on the occasion of the Corpus Christi celebration. The first holiday he went alone. He was, according to some relatives, all night dancing with a woman “I am old, ugly, I can’t go”.

The second day, he took Ana to the booth. “All his relatives were surprised that he took me.” He left her seated while she danced with the same woman she had been with the night before: “stay there, I’m going to dance.”

A paso doble sounded and a cousin, seeing her alone, invited her to dance. Anna refused. “Your cousin kills me, no, no.” He insisted, “he is dancing with another woman.” Her cousin, to keep her calm, asked her husband for permission to dance with her. She said yes. they danced.

Ana Orantes, in a photo from the family album.

“The dance ends at six in the morning,” he explains, “we started walking… He caught me in an alley and, with clenched fists, he grabbed me over the wall. All the punches were given to my temples. In many it left me half dead. She gave me mouth to mouth. When she breathed again, she punched me again “. A neighbor who saw it, stopped him:” but you’re killing your wife! SIf you punch him again I go to the Civil Guard barracks”.

Canceled, crushed. isolated. Ana secretly saw her family. She wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone. He even forbade her from being a godmother at the wedding of one of her children. “you’re going to hook up with a guy you don’t know (the godfather), for the uncle to rub against you. You have no shame. Can not be”.

Broadcast time ran out. After the hard, shocking story, Ana spoke, hoping for a new life and smiled.

Last shot of Ana Orantes in ‘De tarde en tarde’ on Canal Sur.

society has failed

Fifteen days later, her ex-husband dragged her to the outdoor patio of the house where they lived in the Granada municipality of Cúllar Vega (Granada). He beat her almost unconscious, tied her to a chair, doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. Then, he fled, he would turn himself in later.

The next day, on the screen, in the same program that the woman visited, Irma Soriano expressed herself like this: “Ana Orantes, in exercise of her freedom, visited us. Just at this time she was sitting with us. She came to ask for help. She had endured physical and mental abuse for forty years (…) She said she wanted to come and share her testimony. To tell us her life story. A life that ended, ended yesterday at noon. Society has failed. Ana is we have failed. She died yesterday. Her husband killed her.”

Since 2003, the date on which the registry of victims of sexist violence began, 1,171 women have been murdered at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. In 2022, they have killed 30 women.

The phone 016 offers information, legal advice and immediate psychosocial attention to all forms of violence against women. #Niunamenos #Niunamas

25 years without Ana Orantes, the sexist murder that shook Spain