How do 5 guys agree to kill a person, when they wouldn't have done it alone?

How do 5 guys agree to kill a person, when they wouldn't have done it alone?
7 min read
14 February 2023

How do 5 guys agree to kill a person, when they wouldn't have done it alone?

How does a man come to gang rape? To kill in a group?

That question led María del Mar Ramón to write her first novel, "La Canada".

Stripped of the first-person narration that she used in her first book, the collection of intimate stories "Throw away and live without guilt. Pleasure is feminist" (2019), in "La Canada" the author immerses herself in the world of a group of adolescent men to find out why on June 10, 2004, in any Latin American city, another boy was attacked so violently that they ended up killing him.

It is a reality that can be sadly familiar to us. We saw it in Spain when a group of young men raped a girl during the San Fermín festivities in Pamplona in July 2016. The WhatsApp group that these boys had given the case its name: La Canada.

We also saw it in Argentina, when a group of rugby players beat the young Fernando Báez Sosa to death as he left a nightclub in January 2020 in Villa Gesell, Argentina. How To Kill Someone?

What is behind these pack attacks?

BBC Mundo spoke with the author within the framework of the Hay Festival Cartagena, which is held from January 26 to 29.

In your first book, you fully expose your privacy: from bulimia, how you started masturbating, and even the sexual abuse you suffered. In La Canadayou not only change the personal essay for fiction, but the narration of the feminine to the narration of the masculine, getting into the head of a group of adolescents, what has it been like to make that transition?

It was a very interesting and very necessary transition for me. I wrote, "Throw away and live without guilt" in 2018, at a time when the translation of "King Kong Theory" (by Virginie Despentes) had a great impact on us as feminists because there was a break with shame and with this position of the victim that in first-person narratives, it was the most common. At that time I was sure that the first person was the necessary record to write.

When the time comes to write the second book, I no longer have anything else to say in the first person and besides that, my world no longer interests me. I have nothing more to tell, I can't talk about my shell anymore, it's not much more interesting anymore.

And also, there I had a question about the identities of men, how these communities are formed, about all the validation needs, and the only way I had to be able to narrate that was fiction.

As a feminist, and as a writer, was one book a consequence of the other?

I think the novel for me worked as a bridge between something like feminist literature, whatever that is, because obviously I don't think that's defined and I think it's very unfair that it's limited to one perspective of the world, and going out more to an idea of ​​​​literature without that kind of adjectives.

It caused me a lot of anxiety at the time because I thought that the only thing I was going to be able to write was in the first person, about myself. And there was a feeling at that time that the only place we young women had was to talk about ourselves and speak in the first person.

"La Canada", in addition to sharing a name with the rape case that occurred in Spain, shares that background of group violence.

The interesting thing is that all countries have the same case. Also in Argentina, where the case of Fernando Báez Sosa is. Is it based on this case? No, it is not based on any case.

The case of the herd at the Pamplona festivities had made a great impact on me, and a question arose in my mind that was later replicated in other cases, and for which I wrote the novel.

I had the intuition, and I say intuition because I was not in the trial, that these five boys who raped that girl had not left their houses saying "we are going to rape someone."

It caught my attention to know what had happened, how they had communicated, and how they had reached an agreement.

There is something about language, which is a non-verbal language, it is a language of looks. There is an understanding that does not need words. But how had they communicated to agree to do something like rape a girl?

Five people I'm convinced had different upbringings, and different principles, and probably wouldn't do it alone.

And that curiosity was later repeated with the case of Fernando Báez Sosa in Argentina: how they reached an agreement and how the moment in which five boys kill a person was built when they probably wouldn't do it when they were alone.

Andaccording to your point of view, what happens at a moment like this?

I think that the question that prevails is a bit of what is at stake for them at the moment in which they choose to act in a group, the pressures and, on top of that, the language they use and what they tell each other afterward, the way they which groups also build a world.

Parallel reality?

What is said a lot with the Báez Sosa trial, I suppose it was also said in the case of the herd, is that there was a "pact of silence."

I don't think it's just a pact of silence, I think it's also a fictional pact.

I believe that all the groups, all our belonging groups, build us a way of seeing the world.

And I think that what happens in this kind of identity articulation of men is that they narrate the world to themselves in a way in which they obviously overwhelm other forms of identity, but they remain in another way: "well, they were defending themselves. ".

The way in which the characters in "La Canada" tell the world interested me a lot. Because there is a moment when I think you feel very sorry for them and say "oh, God, it's so easy to say no, I'm not going to do this, and at the same time so difficult."

The dedication of your book is: "To all these men: I'm sorry for what the world made of them and I'm sorry for what they did afterward." Did you feel empathy for these characters?

very much I also think that it is finally my big bet in this novel. I knew that it was probably going to be read mainly by an audience of feminists, who were the readers of my first book. And all these guys embody everything that I fought against for many years and my natural enemies.

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