Sanfermines, fiesta and women

Sanfermines has become a fiesta of International interest for tourists, known throughout the World with a series of plans for the smallest ones, youth, adults and elderly people.  These are our fiestas, during the day and during the night for nine marvellous days. Nevertheless, there does exist a structural reality that makes difficult not only our fiesta, but also our lives.  The battle for equality is more important each and every day and is more present. Because of this, in the year 2017, a campaign that had been started in 2014 against sexist aggressions began in earnest in 2017.  

Information Service 2019

Campaign 2019

The group Sanfermines with Equality, created in 2014, and the Town Hall decided to take positions and give a voice to this reality, starting up the campaign For Fiestas Free of Sexist Aggressions/ Eraso sexistarik gabe, Iruña aske.

The Grupo Sanfermines with Equality is made up of the following:  Colectivo Urbanas, Gora Iruñea!, Andrea-Lunes Lilas, Plataforma de mujeres contra la violencia sexista, Servicio Municipal de Atención a la mujer, Seguridad Ciudadana and Colegio de la Abogacia de Pamplona that offers judicial attention to women, currently coordinated by the Equipo Técnico de Igualdad del Ayuntamiento de Pamplona. This constantly searches for and fights to erradícate  sexist aggressions in the fiestas so that citizens can become involved and position themselves in favour of a city that is a free and safe space for women.

Navarra as a government;  Pamplona as a town hall and citizens as people who are working to uncover harm and begin to give it visibility and become conscious of it so that it can be destroyed.  This effort and dedication have placed the city of Pamplona in the center, and, with it, Sanfermines – since every type of sexist aggression is seen with an urgent need to denounce it and the necessity to make it public and remove it from its ostracism.

Information Service 2019

Information Service

This campaign and its way of facing aggressions places Sanfermines in question in the minds of many people, coming to believe that all the bad is concentrated in only one fiesta, Sanfermines.  Nevertheless, an in-depth, serious analysis must be made – an auto criticism and acceptance of the reality and a breaking down of the way we understand life and the world. We must place ahead of the fiesta and idealization, intolerance of aggressions, wherever, whenever, however and against whom they take place.  This is the brave and necessary step that the citizen of Navarra has taken and is taking, accompanied by the institutions, Government and Town Hall.

During Sanfermines an Information Service Booth is placed in the Plaza del Castillo.  Vanesa Eguiluz González, a technical manager of Equality in the Town Hall of Pamplona, explains that work in the Information Service Booth is divided into three areas:  facilitating material, the option of informing against sexist aggression incidents o sexist messages and a service of accompaniment. In addition, between three and four professionals in the Booth speak various languages.

“We want to build a city free of aggressions and of fear, where women participate freely and can be protagonists.”  

Eguiluz explains that the strategy for 2019 is divided into two parts: means to prevent sexist aggression what to do if it happens.  One part is the campaign of prevention against sexist aggressions, made up of different actions:  institutional, with communication media, informatives, action and sensibilization for support inside and outside of the frame of Sanfermines. The other part is action against sexist aggressions that includes three protocols in case of aggression:  the protocol of police intervention, the protocol of attention and accompaniment, and the protocol of citizen and institutional response. 

Vanesa Eguiluz González

A continuing work

Equiluz sees that there have been changes in a positive direction, since many women now know how to identify a sexist aggression.  “In Sanfermines the same thing happens as in other fiestas, but Pamplona has decided to say outloud that this happens; it has put a name to it and it has shown that these acts won´t go unpunished.”

This is why it would be an error to believe or want to believe that these terrible misfortunes only occur in Sanfermines.  Since it´s about a problem much more profound and rooted in society, it is not something punctual or singular, but the fact that we are facing a reality that should disappear in all its forms, understand that, unfortunately, no fiesta is free of aggressions and that the actual key is to visualize this reality and begin to denounce it, because as Teresa Sáez says, “ the shame and the guilt have to change sides.”

Teresa Sáez Barrao is a pedagogo, a technical manager of Equality in the Town Hall of Estella and a feminista and activist since 1977, as well as being part of COMFIN and of Lunes Lilas.  Sáez explains the importance of understanding the law, making it yours, analyzing things and being aware of what we want. “It´s crucial to embody laws and information in order to understand what this means in our daily life and which are the things becoming better because when you understand something, you defend it. If you don´t understand, you don´t.”

Sáez also remembers and underlines the trajectory of many, many years of work with male chauvinism and the sexual violence that Navarra supported, being Navarra one of the communities that has worked more with these problems.  “This is a continuing work. It is important to realize that the starting point of reflecting on this was not the case of “La Manada”, but, instead, the killing of Nagore Laffage  in which the population took over the streets as never had been done before, and people began to understand what sexual violence is, to understand that a girl is murdered because she said, “no”, and this was fundamental in beginning this campaign.”  

Teresa Sáez Barrao

Sáez proposes and deems necessary that with this new reality women should have and be able to enjoy free, safe spaces, should be able to walk through the streets calmly. But for this to happen, there need to be guarantees in place.  This is the reason why knowing that there will be a hand to help you and support you against any sexist aggression is essential. Walk in the street, dance, enjoy the atmosphere and live without fear or guilt. Sáez is very clear. “Women must be able to establish relationships based on mutual desire. We have a right to it.”  And she underscores the importance of knowing, that even in bed, we can say, “no”, and that this word always has to be respected because only “yes” is “yes”. Pamplona, in the last several years, has shown itself to be a reference point for making sexist aggressions more visible. The people and the institutions have known how to fight together and find a solution to the inner task of winning the battle against sexism.

Balance of Sanfermines 2019

11,1225 people have gone to the Information Booth up until July 13, 2019, and 19 incidents have been reported and 9 complaints ( 8 for touching, with three arrests and one in the process of investigation in police departments).  The service of accompaniment, offered by the Área de Servicios Sociales , Acción Comunitaria y Deporte, was used in one occasion. Information on July 13 and July 14 is is not available at this time.



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