Colombian children and family unrest

From the beginning, they put one of the most idealized institutions in the country, the Colombian family, in a very bad light. The data, which is only the tip of the iceberg (because most complaints do not reach the ears of those who can process them), cannot leave anyone indifferent. The numbers I’m giving are from 2018 (but that tends to get worse every year, so things are probably even worse today).

In Colombia in 2018, Legal Medicine carried out eleven thousand expert reports on domestic violence against children and adolescents (excluding sexual violence). This means that thirty children were beaten every day in such a way that they had to be evaluated in Forensic Medicine.

I insist on saying that this is known because the under-registration is great: who will go and report to the authorities? No one, especially since we know that the home is the most common setting for violence against minors, with 76% of all cases. In other words, children can be tortured in their homes without it reaching the ears of the authorities. In fact, the cases that become known are those where, fortunately, there are witnesses, relatives or a spouse who is concerned about the minor.

Who are the authors of this violence? According to this entity’s reports, they are the fathers and mothers (each at a good 30%), in addition to stepfathers (at 8%). In other words, in the absolute majority of cases, the violence is perpetrated by those who are responsible for these minors. The report also says that at this level, victims are both girls (52%) and boys (48%). And it gives details of the type of violence: they are committed with weapons (domestic or not, blunt, sharp, etc.).

But there is more. Colombia’s chapter on sexual violence against minors is appalling. It is hard to believe that in the fields and cities of this happy and tropical country there are such depressing levels of sexual abuse of minors. Under-reporting is again very high (for reasons similar to the previous ones, and even more so because there are often no physical signs for people outside the home to detect, and because the victims of this abuse live in fear and tend to remain silent with guilt ).

In 2018, 71 daily assessments of sexual violence were carried out. The average age of the victims is 12 years, and the most affected group from 10 to 14 years. But because shame knows no bounds, 11% of the assessments were made on children between the ages of 0 and 4.

Girls are particularly vulnerable to this type of violence: those under the age of 10 to 13 account for 42% of the total estimates of sexual crimes committed against women. In other words, in Colombia, almost half of all sexual crimes are committed against children under the age of 13. In addition, 5,713 pregnant girls in the same age group were found to be sexually assaulted. And the attackers? Basically, they are the male members of the family (father, grandfather, brother, uncle).

The Colombian family is sick. Many girls and boys suffer in silence from many forms of torture, beatings, rape, abuse, murder. They are obviously much more defenseless than anyone else, as they live condemned to cohabitation with their patrons/abusers and because they have no way to file the relevant complaints.

As mayor, Gustavo Petro confirmed that a society is worth how it treats its children. Today, the Colombian government claims to be a “world force of life” and features smiling children in its official advertisements. At the same time, Petro’s government appoints a person highly questioned by associations who know the subject at the Columbia Institute for Family Welfare, ICBF.

It is one of the most important institutions for the protection of children’s rights enshrined in the Constitution. More specifically, ICBF’s mission is to detect, prevent and address domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation in prostitution, abandonment and other terrible realities experienced by hundreds of thousands of minors in Colombian territory. With its budget of over 8 billion a year and 33 regional offices and 215 zonal centers, the ICBF can no longer be a fee for friends or for political favors.

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