The Argentinian psychologist Sonia Vaccaro coined the term “vicarious violence” to define that which a spouse exerts on children, with the aim of harming the other spouse. Now publish the book Vicarious violencewhere he analyzes 400 cases to help understand this phenomenon
Is Spain a leader in vicarious violence?
It is a leader in the sense that I coined the term, I named it vicarious violence, and it is included in the laws of violence against women. Many countries have followed the Spanish example.
I was referring rather to the number of cases.
Unfortunately, I would say that the ratio is similar everywhere. Just like violence against women, which in fact is vicarious violence.
Countries were legislating to protect women, and since children were not protected in the same way, the violent realized that there they had an instrument to continue the abuse and violence
Has vicarious violence always existed, albeit without that name?
The most common form of vicarious violence, using sons and daughters to go against their mother, has begun to be described from the first decade of this century, albeit under other names. The use of children to harm women arose as violent men found obstacles. Countries were legislating to protect women, and since children were not protected in the same way, the violent realized that there they had an instrument to continue the abuse and violence.
Why is vicarious violence considered “violence against women”, if there are also women who use it against men?
I have not known cases of women who have harmed their children in order to harm the man. I have been practicing for more than forty years and I have not encountered such cases. Vicarious violence is part of structural violence against women. That there are women who beat a man? Yes, but not because of being a man. The same happens with vicarious violence.
But there are also women who kill their children, I have seen quite a few cases in the press.
Yes, but not to harm men.
It’s another phenomenon, there are women who have a fit of madness, or who knows for what reasons, and kill their children. But not to hurt the man, they don’t tell him “you’ll see what will happen to your children if you want to divorce me”. I have never seen this, if anyone has seen it, it would be important for you to study it, bring casuistry and name it.
If according to you, vicarious violence only exists in one sense, is it because men are more evil than women?
Human beings are born from a mother, therefore a child is more attached to the mother, the mother feeds the baby, etc. We are not talking about normal men, but violent ones. Sexist men, who do not share the tasks of fatherhood, who are not equal in parenting. Individuals who exercise power and control in the most archaic style, who consider the wife and children to belong to him. It is patriarchy as a social order in which we have lived for more than 5,000 years. It is in this scenario that violence against women occurs.
We have lived in patriarchy as a social order for more than 5,000 years
Yes, we men are bad.
Not all men are violent, but there is structural violence. This is where the vicarious violence is.
Do you think men are more violent than women?
Men have been trained based on strength, power and the exercise of dominance. Hegemonic masculinity is like that, and unfortunately patriarchy has reinforced it. I don’t think it’s because they have more strength or more hormones, I think it has to do with the culture and gender socialization they receive. I like to give the example of drinking: it doesn’t produce anything, it liberates, there are men who become violent if they drink, and there are others who cry. Therefore, violence is not an attribute of the male sex, it is of the socialization of the male gender.
Is there a solution to this violence, or do we have to learn to live with it?
Does it refer to violence or vicarious violence?
Recent studies say that gender-based violence has greatly increased, especially among teenagers
I don’t know, both.
There must be a solution, the patriarchy must be disappearing, we are trying to change it. Progress has been made, but much remains to be done, recent studies say that gender-based violence has greatly increased, especially among teenagers. We must continue to talk about it and educate a society with equal rights. A truly egalitarian society would work much better than one where one half of society, women, is subjugated to the other half.
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