Wednesday, May 18

Who is the victim in vicarious violence?

Violence against children can also be sexist, it can also be gender violence. This, which may seem obvious, is not. In fact, it is a premise that should be very present when we talk about vicarious violence. Especially if we do not want the massive socialization of this terminology, which is so decisive for the correct prosecution of the facts, to run the risk of leaving in the background (almost invisible) the victims murdered in these sexist crimes, the girls and kids.

Undoubtedly, in cases like the one that recently occurred in Sueca, the murderer of her 11-year-old son sought to kill the mother (ex-partner) while she was alive and harm her with what she loved most. However, in cases of vicarious (gender) violence, the murderer (father) also wants to harm his son, and he does so by violently taking away a life that he cannot control as he would like. His fury is against the woman, but it is also against the children who are killed. He is the ones he really kills. We cannot lose sight of that outcome because this is how we will be able, from feminism and public policy, to combine the gender perspective with which these cases need to be analyzed with the childhood perspective that also provides a broader understanding of to what extent sexist violence is something structural.

Sexist violence is not an isolated event against women in households where there are sons and daughters. When it is said that these are direct victims of sexist violence (and this has been recognized by law since 2015), it is not said because they can be on the scene and be “witnesses” of what happens, but because everything that happens in their home affects them directly. It always violates them on a psychological level and has a decisive impact on their emotional development, as is later verified in many educational centers when they observe and detect signs that something is not going well with these children and adolescents. The mere fact of being under the same roof as an abuser of your mother is in itself a mistreatment of that father to them because it is going over his integrity and his evolutionary needs, it is going over the best interests of the minor . In addition, it is very naive to think that they do not receive shouting, threats, coercion and aggression. A man who kills his son is not the first act of violence (including psychological) committed against him, exactly as we know it happens with a woman.

One of the dogmas that the patriarchal mandate places on a man when he is a father is that as father families, the family is built on him. That is to say, that under his roof and responsibility are his wife and children. The home depends on him and being a socially respectable man and respected by his wife and his offspring, so if someone breaks his rules, he is responsible for bringing order back. In this way, the bodies and lives of “his” wife of his and of “his” children of his are not only colonizable, but they are also attackable if that patriarchal order is at stake: he is the man and he is the father. And it is in this framework where the phrase that “an abuser cannot be a good father” is a direct blow to the backbone of the patriarchal system. It is a check move, before mate.

When from feminist justice we make the claim that an “abuser cannot be a good father” and concrete measures are requested such as suspending visitation regimes for children in cases of sexist violence and withdrawing parental authority from those convicted of these, we are not entering into a dispute of women against men, which is what Vox would like. Feminist justice is neither punitive nor does it defend the Talion law. This is not about an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, it’s about human rights. That is why it is important to realize that vicarious (gender) violence is much more than sexist violence against women, it is sexist violence against her sons and daughters. The premise that “an abuser is not a good father” questions the system and questions the ultra-conservative narrative of father families that so permeates a large part of the operators involved in procedures for gender violence and, also, family violence.

These operators disassociate –in an inexplicable way from the perspective of children’s rights– the “abusive man” from the “father man” as if they were not the same subject. They ignore that the behavior of the man/father is violently determining the values, behaviors and guidelines that govern within that family. Being a sexist abuser is not an isolated event that only women suffer, it is part of an identity as a man, partner and father. It is the extension of an intoxicated masculinity whose fragility cannot be glimpsed or questioned, hence the use of force as masculine (im)potency. A use of verbal and physical force to which not only the woman is subjected, but also her sons and daughters. And this is not domestic or domestic violence, it is sexist violence.

When it was approved last June Law for the comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence, the advance that this represented for children’s rights was valued almost unanimously. However, the affected administrations did not realize the paradigm shift that this entails in their approach to violence involving children and adolescents. A change that forces the laws that articulate children’s rights to be taken seriously, shaking off the ultra-conservative adult-centrism that makes them resist seeing children and adolescents as subjects of their own rights. The law establishes, in addition to the suspension of the visitation regime in judicialized cases of sexist violence, that special attention be paid to the protection of the best interests of children and adolescents who live in family environments marked by gender violence, and that these cases are detected for your specific response. Vicarious violence kills children, and only by complying with the Children’s Law and protecting their best interest and not the interest of the patriarchal order, will it be possible to prevent dozens of girls’ and boys’ lives from being taken away by those men who believe that their children also love them. they belong.