“I have scars on my head, arms and legs, but the scar that never heals is the one that remains in the heart. The others pass, but the mark on the soul is never forgotten. It was like a dictatorship: what he said was done. I called him Don Rigo because I feared and respected him. I met him when I was 15, digging potatoes in Rio Frio, a small town near Puerto Montt in the mountains. Soon after, I was forced to marry him, and we went to live on a farm, where we milked cows. I knew nothing about life. He drank, and sometimes he couldn’t do the milking, and I had to do it alone: up to 25 cows in a day. The beatings started three months after we were married and never stopped. When he was 18 years old and with two sons, we went to live in Punta Arenas for work. He was offered to be a cook in the aeronautics department and the possibility of finishing high school. I stayed at home with my fourth grade, raising my children. I thought that I would have the opportunity to go back to school. But that never happened. I remember that my husband was quartered in the mountains for several days. When he came down, he would punish me: catch his belt, wrap it around his hand, and hit me with the buckle. I endured forty years with him, and I would say that thirty of those were very bad. We had five children, and thanks to one of them, I could get out of there. One day he grabbed me and took me to a foster home in Osorno because he saw that the marriage was going very badly.”

“Sometimes, I think I would not be giving my testimony if he had not hanged himself.”

Mom, I will save you, and my brothers will save my dad because at any moment, he will kill you, and then he will kill himself,” he told me. I was hospitalized for four months and felt happy and optimistic when I got out. But I did not imagine that the next day I would be crying bitterly. My husband hanged himself at 12:30 that day. Even though I was different and feeling better, everything collapsed on me. I was not prepared to see him die. I, who was healthy, wanted to offer him a hand, but I couldn’t, and many things were left unfinished. Although sometimes I think that if he had not hanged himself, I would not be giving my testimony, and I would be one more victim. Two of my sons, after his death, went against me. They blame me for everything, and for them, I am practically dead. They won’t even let me meet my grandchildren. But what else can I do? I can only leave it to God and trust those who have helped me. Luckily I’m coming out of it, but it’s hard to remember again.