patricia-riesta

I was born in a country and a family where women were not treated the same as men. My father never let me do certain things simply because I was a girl. My brother got a car when he was a teenager and went to a private University. I used public transportation and went to public school. He said I was going to marry and have children soon, so why waste his money.

He always put my mother down. He gave nicknames to my boyfriends and was rude to them. After a few drinks, he would grab women’s behinds and breasts. He said women couldn’t drive or park, and he would “joke” about how women should always be pregnant, and in the kitchen. He also had a bad temper. He would yell and scream in public places if he didn’t get his way.

Painfully, I know now that my father was a misogynist, a bully, and a sexual predator. I felt relieved when he passed away. I would never have to be seen next to him with sorrow or horror, as he was having a temper tantrum or disrespecting someone.

When I came to this country, I realized I didn’t have to attach a picture to my job application, or to wear makeup and high heels to an interview. I didn’t have to give them a urine sample to prove that I wasn’t pregnant in case they considered me for the position.

I was now in a country where women can make their own decisions about their reproductive systems, where they can be independent and strong, where they can run to be the President of our nation.

I became a U.S. citizen in 2007 and voted for President Obama. I admired his prudence and tolerance, his calm when others were issuing threats and screaming. I’ll miss his voice and eloquence, which seemed so reassuring. But mostly, The way he treats his wife and daughters gave me hope and helped restore my view of men.

That’s his legacy to me.

That’s what I’m holding on to.

With a Perspective, this is Patricia Riestra.

Patricia Riestra is a medical interpreter. She lives in Berkeley.

  • Kimberly Morgan

    Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. Very powerful! It sounds like while your father did everything to keep you down, he failed, clearly you have become a STRONG and independent woman. Well done.

    • Patricia Riestra

      Thanks Kimberly, yes, it’s funny how you actually get stronger when someone is trying to oppress you. The irony is that I didn’t get married until I was 29, and I didn’t have my kid until 6 years ago, when I was 38. My brother dropped out of College because he got married and had children at 19!!!! Thanks again!!!

  • Curious

    Yes, that may be Obama’s only accomplishment – family man.

  • Charles Templeplate

    Thank you for this. And let’s work together to protect these Human Rights!

    • Patricia Riestra

      Thank you!!! I feel like a lot of Americans have no clue as to what it is to live in a country where you don’t have many things that we take for granted here. I’m afraid they will find out if we don’t stop this. Thanks again!!!

  • Mira Ross

    Wonderful perspective so well communicated for such a powerful topic, especially the many who have been personally impacted by similar issues. Thanks and Bravo to you Paticia Riestra.

  • wandagb

    “I was born in a country and a family where women were not treated the same as men.”

    Implicit in her Perspective is that these behaviors continued once here. This raises a serious question about importing millions of people from cultures that hold these un-American values. They are less likely to be perpetuated if the numbers were smaller and assimilation were championed instead of the current notion of keeping ones culture.

    • Patricia Riestra

      First of all, I was not imported, I am an immigrant, just like your parents, grandparents or great grand parents were, and FYI, my father never lived in this country! Second, I wrote this because my father reminded me of the President-Elect. Are his the good “American values” that you want to perpetuate? Machismo is world-wide. I know plenty of white men who still feel threatened by women and feel that they have more rights than us. I have a son and I’m raising him with the universal values of equality, respect, and kindness. Those are my values, regardless of where I came from or what part of my culture I would like to preserve.

  • eb

    Your description of how much you will miss President Obama and why put my thoughts into words. Thank you for providing clarity. You too are eloquent.

    • Patricia Riestra

      Thanks for your comments!!!

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