About 81 percent of women experience some sort of sexual harassment a year – and oftentimes it’s not witnessed by third parties. That is why what happened to Spanish soccer player, Jenni Hermoso, was so shocking to a lot of people. Though many women experience harassment in their everyday lives, it’s not common to have it showcased for an audience to see. The sad reality is that this type of behavior goes unnoticed, which can empower perpetrators further.
However, Hermoso is getting the justice she deserves. Luis Rubiales has finally resigned from his high position in the Royal Spanish Football Federation despite initially refusing to do so. Still, FIFA suspended Rubiales shortly after the incident.
Luis Rubiales’, who is the former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, resignation has sent shockwaves reverberating through the global fútbol community. But this is no ordinary resignation; it’s a tale that involves triumph, controversy, and a kiss that changed everything – a kiss that Luis Rubiales forced upon Jenni Hermoso.
Picture this: August 20, 2023, and Spain’s women’s football team has just secured their first-ever Women’s World Cup title. The streets are alive with celebration, the crowd is jubilant, and the players, coaches, and officials are reveling in a moment of unparalleled glory.
Amidst the euphoria, a moment unfolds that will redefine the trajectory of fútbol. As revealed by NPR, the climax of the Women’s World Cup celebrations saw Rubiales, the man at the helm of Spanish football for years, at the center of an unexpected scandal involving none other than Jenni Hermoso, the iconic striker of the Spanish national team.
It was a kiss that set off a firestorm of controversy. This was no ordinary kiss though. Reports suggest that Luis Rubiales allegedly forced a kiss upon Jenni Hermoso, turning what should have been a moment of shared celebration into an uncomfortable incident.
The kiss quickly took on a life of its own, sparking a debate that rippled through social media and media outlets. The controversy centered on allegations that Rubiales had crossed the line between professionalism and personal boundaries, particularly in the male-dominated world of fútbol.
Goal reports that the incident prompted widespread discussions about sexism in fútbol and whether this kiss was indicative of a larger issue surrounding the recognition and respect of women’s achievements in the sport. Many argued that this incident highlighted a deeper problem in the sports world, where women’s accomplishments were often overshadowed or trivialized, and where power dynamics skewed toward men.
Unpacking the Resignation Letter Luis Rubiales Shared
The fallout from this innocuous incident was immediate and fierce, forcing Rubiales to confront the realities of gender inequality and inappropriate behavior in football. In his resignation statement, he acknowledged the controversy surrounding the incident and expressed his commitment to fostering a more inclusive and respectful environment within the sport. Yet, there was no apology present in his resignation. In fact, upon reading his resignation letter, which he posted on Twitter (a platform some want to call “x”), it was evident that he had no remorse for what had happened.
Defenderé mi honorabilidad.
Defenderé mi inocencia.
Tengo Fe en el futuro.
Tengo Fe en la verdad.
Gracias a todos. 🇪🇸https://t.co/yS9rM1HBTm
— Luis Rubiales (@LuisRubiales17) September 10, 2023
“I must look forward, towards the future. There is something that occupies me firmly now. I have faith in the truth and will do everything in my power to make it prevail,” he wrote.
“My daughters, my family, and the people who care about me have suffered the effects of excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that in the streets, every day, the truth is prevailing.”
Interesting. He claims “falsehoods,” forgetting that the entire world witnessed the moment in question.
Whether Rubiales likes it or not, what started as a moment of spontaneous celebration had evolved into a watershed moment for Spanish football, pushing the conversation on gender equality and personal boundaries to the forefront. While the Women’s World Cup victory was a historic triumph for Spain, it also ignited a transformative discussion on gender dynamics and consent in fútbol.
Though a few weeks later than anyone would’ve wanted, Hermoso is proving to be victorious once again. But beyond it being a personal victory, it’s a victory that can be shared among all women as we understand how often nonconsensual acts go unnoticed by the masses.