table for five
Not all goodbyes are the same. When parents bury a child, it’s hard not to feel like a part of your life is gone at that moment, especially when death comes unexpectedly, like in an accident or murder. As they say, the loss of a child is unnatural: it breaks the continuity of the parental role and disarms the future project of those parents. The duel strikes then with longing, guilt and crudeness: the son is still present in memories, anecdotes, dates of (already) non-birthdays and of course, absences. I think about Claudia Abigail’s parents a lot these days. I think of her acute pain, of that feeling of persistent emptiness and how heartbreaking it is to go through pathological grief.
Claudia Abigail was 17 years old and a life that, with lights and shadows, deserved to be crossed, squeezed, enjoyed. It could not be. Will not be. The young woman was murdered by her ex-partner, Johan Syven PO, 19, just a few weeks ago, in Totana. The minutes of silence, the institutional statements, the tweets from high-ranking politicians condemning the events or the concentrations of feminist associations followed one another in unison. You had to react, express in some way, well-intentioned or opportunistic, that this was not right, that this was a real misfortune.
The ages of victim and perpetrator were overwhelming due to their youth. The details of the aggression struck us for their coldness and violence. Many wondered if no one could have intuited such an ending, if it could have been avoided… But at the same time, other questions underlie it: Can this criminal behavior be reduced to a mere slogan: ‘I killed her because she was mine’?
There is a lot of social sensitivity when we talk about violence in couple relationships, especially when the victim is a woman and the aggressor is a man. Legally, in Spain, this has been called ‘gender violence’. However, for some time now, there has been much and increasing talk that this ‘politically correct’ discourse is not very correct and that, furthermore, its social approach is being ineffective.
In relation to this, it has been a great mistake to believe that the only causes of risk for suffering partner violence are sexist values and belonging to the female sex. It is an ideological discourse that, exposed or not from the good faith, ignores the complexity of human behavior and the multiplicity of risk factors of violence in intimate or ex-partner relationships. Likewise, this discourse also comes to contradict something that can hardly be denied with the data in hand: intimate partner violence can be bidirectional, women and men can in turn be victims and perpetrators, and the social stereotype is not always fulfilled. that the man has an active role and the woman a passive role in couple relationships.
And yes, saying this can be annoying, but it does not come to question that there are specific forms of violence against women and that they are justified in a patriarchal culture such as, for example, honor killings or female genital mutilation. In the same way, pointing out that current gender policies are based on an ideological discourse and not based on empirical studies, does not deny the differences between the sexes in intimate partner violence or that it is women who suffer the most serious effects of violence. violence such as rape and murder. And, in case there is any doubt, I do not believe that the solution to this phenomenon lies in punitive populism, such as the permanent reviewable prison.
Now that March 8 is approaching, I limit myself to remembering that painting park benches purple or believing that a 50-minute talk with teenagers is a ‘balm against machismo’ is nothing more than an anecdote. Or, put another way, they are ineffective interventions, which are not based on a deep, objective and well-founded knowledge of the reality that they seek to prevent or eradicate.
The biased view of partner violence, beyond delving into public waste, means neglecting the problem and therefore abandoning the victims. With this, it is not a question of denying violence against women in the sphere of the partner or ex-partner, as many champions of the extreme right openly express. We must appeal to responsibility and this means betting on the scientific perspective and trusting those professionals who base their actions on it. By Claudia. For all. More prevention. More research. More commitment. That is the best tribute.
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