In her acceptance speech at the 2019/2020 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year awards ceremony, Spanish soccer star Aitana Bonmatí used the opportunity to call out the “abuses of power” that she had experienced following a recent unwanted kiss from Spanish Football Federation President, Luis Rubiales.
Bonmatí bravely elected to share her experience of the uncomfortable incident, which had first occurred during a meeting between herself and Rubiales in July 2019. “While I was pleased to feel the recognition of the industry through this award, I cannot ignore the uncomfortable moment I had recently, when I felt that my dignity had been violated,” Bonmatí said.
The Barcelona player went on to explain the gravity of the situation for her, especially as the senior executive in question was her own President. “When I saw that the person responsible was the highest authority of my Federation, I feared that the attention to the incident would be minimized,” she said, “This apprehension made me feel very small.”
In her speech, Bonmatí also drew attention to the wider implications of her experience, mentioning the fact that similar events remain commonplace across the world, invoking the courage of those who choose to speak out against such situations and demonstrate an “act of bravery”.
The 23-year-old Catholic university graduate went on to stress the importance of role models in all aspects of life, ending her speech with a hopeful message; “We cannot be silent,” she concluded, “because saying nothing is also an abuse of power.”