El Tiempo published this column yesterday, related to the book Out of Captivity, published by former FARC hostages Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves. I totally agree with Natalia Springer.
Íngrid Betancourt is interested in sex. So what? Do Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell or Tom Howes tell how they handled their own sexuality in captivity? Do they talk about their fantasies, their way of doing or their sexual disabilities? Does it interest anyone? No. But the three contracters-writers say that talking (about the others) has the function of a catharsis. It also helps to overcome the trauma to receive a good financial offer to reveal details about the intimate life of a woman who is known worldwide. And the point is not that the political career or the intimate life of Íngrid Betancourt are free of controversy, but I was more interested in that they would dedicate a chapter to tell us to what the military ‘contracters’ do in Colombia. That is the title that nowadays is given to the modern mercenaries, military personnel that works for private companies, that in practice operate (or at least that appears from the war in Iraq) with quite a lack of respect for the law.
Interest in sex is almost a sick interest. Little was known for example about the alarm about teenager pregnancies this week. Taking into account that the majority of these young girls belong to lower classes, their children will be born in circumstances of higher inequality and extreme social and financial vulnaribility. It is a fact that early pregnancy reduces dramatically the possibility of progress of these young mothers.
The children are born in environment close to risk and therefore at a disadvantage, even more if we give credits to studies which relate the mother’s age to the intellectual quotient of the children: the more adult the woman is when she gives birth to her first child, the higher the IQ of the child is. The explication is simple: a woman who has been able to complete her academic education and who has integrated succesfully to working life before pregnancy is in a much freeer and fortunate situation to take decisions about the education of her child and can count on much more elements to enrich its development. Teenager pregnancy is one of the most important sources of social inequality.
Another issue which deserves a more mature debate are the profound implications of lifelong imprisonment of rapists of children. The matter is complicated if we take into account that psychopats like Luis Alberto Garavito are exceptional cases and that the overwhelming majority of the sexual predators have a direct relation with the victim (they are the father, the mother, brothers or sisters, cousins or other siblings). These people are in majority functional citizens, good friends, tireless workers who pay taxes, but in their homes life is a silent hell. Generally, this kind of abuse lasts for years and is protected by the complicity of at least one other family member. It is believed that sexual abuse within the family is absurdly more frequent than presumed, but the victims don’t dare to denounce it. They develop a relation of guilt and dependency on the person who causes the damage. More than increasing punishment, wouldn’t it be more important to promote and strengthen the mechanisms to denounce and to protect the victims?
We are talking about serious threats against the integrity of the family, which have no space in speeches and little space in the news. Like always whatever piece of pornorubbish with literary pretention gets more attention than the duty to face reality and have responsibility for it. Shocking!
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