Jenni Hermoso: “I have received threats”

«I have had to assume the consequences of an act that I did not provoke, that I had not chosen or premeditated. I have received threats, and that is something you never get used to,” Jenni Hermoso revealed during an exclusive interview with GQ magazine, which awarded the world champion soccer player the Woman of the Year 2023 award. ” I would like to be remembered as a person who has wanted to leave Spain at the top but, above all, as someone who has tried to change many mentalities. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is this story, but I am going to learn to take advantage of it positively to fight for what I believe is good for society. The #SeAcabó movement must bring a new era,” proclaims the Madrid forward who denounced Luis Rubiales for his non-consensual kiss after the final of the Women’s World Cup played on August 20 in Sydney.

More than two and a half months have passed since the scandal and Jenni Hermoso acknowledges that “these weeks have been very difficult” and that “having to tell again and again” what happened during the World Cup trophy presentation and later, a statement included before The National Court as a victim of a crime of sexual assault and another of coercion, was doing him “a lot of harm.” «But I know she had to let it go somehow. I continue working on it with the help of my psychologist, who I have been with for many years. For me, mental health is as important as daily training, like the hours I have to sleep to be able to go out on the field. Thanks to her I feel strong and I am not broken down or thinking about not wanting to play soccer anymore. “I have not lost my enthusiasm,” says the top scorer in the history of the women’s team.

Without intending to, Jenni Hermoso has become the main standard-bearer of women’s demands in the fight for equality and against machismo and, after having carried out a revolution, she believes that thanks to football the players of the Spanish team can “change many lives.” «On a personal level I don’t fight for status. For me, my life is my neighborhood, my family, my people, the most basic things. I will never do anything just to make more money. Being able to fight for this (more dignified conditions for female footballers) is another source of pride and that is where I really want to be noticed. If I have to show my face to achieve a change, go ahead,” says Jenni Hermoso, for whom “if this (the Rubiales kiss) had not happened, everything would have remained the same.”

“They have called us capricious”

Raised in a neighborhood with a proletarian environment such as Carabanchel, Jenni Hermoso claims that “it is essential to take the worker into account.” She always remembers that her soccer school was on the street, where she played in the park near her grandparents’ house or at school, with boys. «Many have written me messages these years, especially at the World Cup, when at the time they did not want to play with me because I was a girl. When they left me, the same goals as always were no longer scoring. Now I know that they are very proud of the soccer player that I am,” highlights the 33-year-old Mexican Pachuca player.

“With everything that’s happened, I think many of us have become more aware of what the word ‘feminism’ really means, including many friends and family. We, in football, have experienced first-hand the fight for equality. They have called us capricious. It has always been said that we wanted to earn the same as the boys and it was not true. It makes me very angry when they say that women’s football does not generate as much as men’s football. Obviously we know this and we have never asked to be paid like them,” he explains during the interview in GQ magazine that will go on sale on November 28.

«We simply wanted the most basic thing: to have a minimum salary, to be respected and to be given the opportunity to do something very great. As soon as we had it, we won a world championship,” emphasizes Jenni Hermoso, for whom in football and women’s sports “there are things that have never been normal” and, thanks to female awareness, many women are now rebelling. . “I think that’s why so much commotion has been generated and, specifically, so much damage has been caused to me,” she laments.

Her brother Rafael has had to testify as a witness in the ‘Rubiales case’ to corroborate before the judge the alleged pressure exerted by the former president of the Spanish Football Federation (FEF) on Jenni Hermoso and her family, and the player highlights that “he is being very important in this process” “Apart from everything that having your support means, it gives me a masculine vision with my same values. He is my family, but also a man who is supporting the cause. For me, it is very valuable for him to have this mentality,” she adds, who estimates that the majority of her fellow soccer players have not acted as the players expected to support the world champions in their claim.

Attitude of colleagues

«I understand that everyone thinks how they think and I would also love to be able to focus only on my sport, but when you see unfair situations, you have to be on one side or the other. People will hate me or love me, but I have my way of thinking and I don’t mind saying it openly: I don’t know if their support would have made everything easier, but it certainly would have helped us a lot,” emphasizes who appreciates Borja’s attitude. Iglesias, Héctor Bellerín, Óscar Trejo and Isco, the first to position themselves in favor of female footballers. Jenni regrets the lack of unanimity in men’s football: “We have the philosophy of being united and doing what we feel, and that is how we have achieved everything we have achieved so far.”

Even actress Natalie Portman, one of the biggest supporters of #MeToo that shook the film industry in 2017, has publicly shown her support for Jenni Hermoso. “I am very grateful that so many people were with me, with us. Actresses, singers and footballers, some of them rivals we had faced in the World Cup, or the English team, against whom we beat the final. All of that gave me the strength to continue and think that I had to go through this all together. There are many colleagues who needed someone to raise their voice,” highlights who is also proud of the anonymous people who mobilized on social networks and in the streets.

The fight of the world champions has also served to give visibility to the LGTBIQ+ collective in sport. «Seeing Irene (Paredes) with her child and her wife at a World Cup is an example for the women of the group. And that is also the message we want to give, especially to those who find it difficult to assume being a certain way in case they are hurt. There are many people who can criticize it, but there are many more who see themselves reflected in these actions and that helps us a lot to continue like this,” says who also demands gay or bixesual representation in men’s soccer.

«I think it is due to the prototype of a lifelong footballer. The father of the family, the one who has his girlfriend… The player who is considering coming out of the closet lacks references and he believes that he will harm his sports career because society is not so inclusive yet. On the other hand, women have had a very different mentality regarding this. They have seen that it was absolutely normal. I thank those who started in this sport, who created that vision for all those who came after and eliminated any barrier,” underlines Jenni Hermoso.

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