- Alejandro Sanz: "Whoever hits a woman hits all Humanity"
Until 2013, when the registry was created, the children of women murdered by their partners were the ignored victims of gender violence. Since then it is known at least how many are -264 at the end of this edition-, but the bureaucratic labyrinth they face and the economic difficulties they face make their path very painful.
" I am in the best moment of my life ." With these words, Guasi Rodríguez, a 35-year-old social worker, divorced and mother of two children aged five and eight, separated from her sister Luci the afternoon of February 19, 2013. The next morning, when leaving home , his ex-husband was waiting for her. He assaulted her in the back and stabbed her repeatedly. Guasi died right there, in his mother's arms and before the terrified look of the little ones, unable to understand so much fright.
Those children were among the first to be part of a shameful record: that of orphans due to gender-based violence. Until that year these minors did not exist for the institutions; They were only visible to their families, who had to overcome mourning and grief to take care of them and how much they needed to continue their lives. The creation in 2013 of that official registry helped us to become aware of the existence of these other collateral victims : since then, and until the day I write these lines, there are 264 children whose mothers have been killed in the field of violence macho (50 so far this year, several in front of their children).
REGISTRATION OF THE GENDER VIOLENCE ORPHANS
That record gave them recognition and placed them in the files, but little else. Luci remembers moving heaven and earth, from instance to instance, from one organism to another, fighting to get help and understanding for his nephews. His journey in these seven years summarizes the situation in which the children remain and the administrative obstacles that muddle the road to normalcy. '' When something like this happens to you, you think there will be someone to tell you what to do. But nobody knows how to say where you should go. You go to the Juvenile Prosecutor's Office and you find that they ask for your father's permission for everything. You begin one procedure after another, from taking away the parental authority from the aggressor - in our case sentenced to 23 years in jail - until claiming the pension and paying the mortgage; going through the change of address and school, so that they do not remain designated children, or to face the receipts and contributions of a house that you cannot rent or sell because it also belongs to the father ... And months and years go by in a situation in which pain is added to impoverishment and helplessness, '' he explains.
Even so, she has been a lucky one. As a social worker - like her sister -, she has been able to find shortcuts, discover what doors to call and get favors to clear the maze map; Thus, it has been removing burdens, obstacles and obstacles for the normalization of the life of its nephews. Unlike her, `` most families have no resources, tools to move between bureaucracy . The damage repair system is very poor, '' says Marisa Soleto, director of the Soledad Cazorla Scholarship Fund, created in 2016 to support those orphans and who has Lucy's nephews among her beneficiaries.
The fund awards scholarships intended to try to repair, at least in part, the damage suffered and to facilitate the possibility of university studies, psychological support or school support. "But in these three years," he adds, "we have realized that, beyond the economic difficulties, they are in a state of helplessness on the part of the institutions. We find families that, after a terrible emotional shock, have to draw strength to enter a legal conflict that takes years, paralyzes their lives and impoverishes them. We have discovered failures in the adaptation of the tax and pension system that harm them, with orphans who must face debts that have been caused by their mother's murderer. It is true that there is spontaneous solidarity, but also immense bureaucratic obstacles. ''
THE PENSION OF ORFANDAD
And that despite the gradual conquests that have been achieved. The first obstacle has always been the orphan's pension, unattainable for all those children whose mothers were not working or had not paid enough at the time of their murder; even if they were discharged, in the vast majority of cases the pension, derisory, only allowed to receive the minimum amount ( 197 euros in 2018 ). And one more slap in the face: until 2015, and even if he is faced with common sense and with compassion, the aggressors had the right to collect the widow's pension generated as a result of having murdered who his wife was. From that date it was achieved that, in cases where the aggressor lost the right to receive this pension, the minor was granted the situation of absolute orphanhood and that that money would be collected by him as an orphan.
That happened with the sons of Guasi, Luci's nephews: `` We were lucky. On the one hand, my sister had contributed and the children were entitled to their pension; on the other, they were given absolute orphanhood and so they could also receive the paternal pension. But there are many children whose mothers did not contribute and who have nothing. The approval of the new law is essential for them. ''
It refers to Law 3/2019 on the Improvement of the Situation of the Orphanhood of Children of Victims of Gender Violence. '' The amount of the pension has been increased to a minimum of 600 euros. But, for everything to really make sense, it is essential that families know that they have those rights, know where they should go and receive advice, '' says Marisa Soleto. In this sense, he continues, from the institution he directs, a legal advisory service has been created that, among other aspects, contemplates the accompaniment to the request for Social Security aid.
THE POLITICAL LOCK DOES NOT HELP
One of the doubts that arise is whether, with the State Pact paralyzed for months by the political blockade, measures aimed at protecting and helping these minors have also been suspended. "They have been slow to get going, because it is a complex issue, but we are aware that some aid is already being collected and that there are various files on the waiting list," said Soleto.
On the other hand, some autonomous communities -Baleares, Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia and Castilla y León- have their own help and are also proactive: instead of waiting for those affected to claim their rights, it is their own Administration who comes into contact with them to inform them of their benefits.
As aid arrives, paperwork continues. Almost seven years after the murder of his sister, Luci has issues to resolve: `` We have not removed the father's last name from the children because, although the State Pact tells you that you can do it, the official does not know how to carry it out. Nor do we know how their pensions will stay with the new guidelines. We are behind that half of the house belonging to the father can be seen as part of the 300,000 euros of compensation to which he was sentenced ... And one of the worst things is that they deny us exemptions because our situation is not extreme poverty. But if I'm not asking for help for me, but for some orphaned minors! In the end, they exhaust the family. ''
Families like those of the last mothers killed with minor children in charge. Just a month ago, in just 48 hours, three women lost their lives at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. One was killed in Denia, in front of her 11-year-old daughter. Another in Vic left a four-year-old boy. New orphaned minors and the people who must take care and custody have before them a path full of uncertainty. For them, and for so many more, Luci continues with his particular activism, just as the Soledad Cazorla Scholarship Fund does in search of that shared social responsibility. And, on your horizon, that the damage repair be fair, effective, simple and compassionate.
State Pact against Gender Violence
Measures that it includes for orphans of gender-based violence:
- Improvement in orphan's pensions
- Tax relief for families that take care of guardianship
- Preferential right in access to public housing
- Strengthening access to assistance and care services for minors
- Specific pedagogical and educational measures.
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