Méthodologie - 27 septembre 2010

fr - A Pedagogical Path

Educating ourselves to analyse causes in a given situation and to identify the underlying structures of injustice.

Aim : - to go beyond compassion by analysing causes so to effect a transformation

Family violence
(
Colombia)

1. Facts

I am going to meet `Teresa’ a young woman living in a poor district where there is a lot of violence. From first thing in the morning she has been punishing her three year old daughter and telling her off as though she were an adult. When I ask her to tell me her story she cries as she shares her situation with me.
She is 22 years old, a single mother with little preparation for the role. She went to primary school and had some secondary schooling ; she is separated from her partner – the father of the little girl. She is living in a small room a long way from her family in very difficult conditions ; she is not in work.
She started to live with her partner, the father of the little girl, in the vain hope of making a home. All her hopes have been thwarted ; today she is dependent on what he gives her for the upkeep of her daughter and payment of the rent. Each time they meet there are continual arguments in front of the little one.
She is desperate as she cannot see how to get out of her situation ; she hopes to meet another man with whom she can realise her dreams.

2. Direct causes of the violence

Analysis of the different forms of poverty (economic, educational/ emotional and familial, social and cultural) which this person and her cultural group would know
Since her childhood Teresa has been a victim of violence on numerous occasions because of poverty, as have the majority of families in the country.

  • Educational and affective poverty : lack of preparation in facing life and making a home.
  • Family insecurity ; single parent families or those without resources, with all the consequences for human relationships ; a climate of violence within the family.
  • Precarious economic situation ; lack of sufficient means to survive ; food, lodging, clothing, education, health, leisure, etc.
  • Cultural influences ; machismo, the way of understanding relationships as well as the influence of the media

3. Indirect causes linked with national and international structures

Analysis of the injustices generated by economic, social, and political structures at both national and international level.

Inequality of life chances in Colombia :

  • between men and women : there is frequent discrimination between the sexes. In any couple the man is usually dominant ; education of boys takes precedence over that of girls. A big proportion of women have very low self esteem.
  • between rich and poor ; it is much more difficult for children from poor families to access good quality education. An example is that during this financial crisis middle class children who normally would be in private schools are now going for public schooling ; because of this a number of state schools are no longer accepting poor children, to give room for the others. The report of the United Nations High Commissioner states that education is a privilege confined to the highest income households. It is not a secret : in Colombia there exist in numerous educational circles certain parallels which do not allow for the system to be properly balanced. There is a` poor education for the poor’ and an expensive privileged education for the rich.’ This situation is made worse by the failure to pay salaries in certain public centres.

Groups which are excluded by social policy ; in such matters as work, lodging, food, clothing, education, health, leisure etc. For example 25% of the population does not have access to social security and 40% do not have access to health care, it is too expensive. Unemployment levels are estimated at 11.2% in 2007 but the number of unemployed females is likely to be higher (16.8%). In the majority of cases women in employment are in low skilled jobs. 80% of women earn less than the minimum salary (200$ a month) [1] ; The office of the United Nations in Colombia has received alarming reports saying that certain communities are not able to access adequate nutrition so there are cases of malnutrition. There is limited access to housing for certain groups and insecure employment ; these are things which preoccupy people [2].

Violence and violations of human rights : it is estimated that there are 6,000 child soldier guerrillas and 35,000 who are victims of sexual exploitation.2.2 of children work more than 15 hours a week and 2.5 million adults work in high risk situations, taking no notice of the principles of IOW (International Organisation for Work) According to figures from UNICEF 7000 children involved with irregular armed groups are used as spies, as human targets, messengers and combatants [3]. In the report it says”you learn not to cry, child soldiers of Colombia” it estimates there are 11,000 to 14,000 such children.
Sexual violence against women used as a weapon of war whether it be against women, girls or adolescents results in migrations affecting 52% of the displaced population [4]. Between January and June 2008 the NGO consultoria para los derchos Humanos y el Desplzanamiento (CODHES) registered 270,675 newly displaced people which represent and increase of 41% compared with 2007. Colombia is the country which has the second highest internal migration in the world. In 2008 there were 4.3 million people displaced because of violence.

Even if an aspect of free trade can favour the export of Colombian products, the situation is critical because big interventions in the political and economic decisions from outside the country have consequences within our country…..these new features of free trade accentuate the impact of the open neoliberal model and countries which do not have the right social, political and economic conditions are hindered in their search for sustainable development, instead they are sectioned off to be exporters of primary products ; if regulations which favour the country in most need are not put in place. Colombia is likely to see the withering of its industrial production and instead distinctly small scale industries will replace them. Throughout history Colombia has been subjected to political and economic influences from outside which have directed the internal decisions of our country. In a way the country is a victim of a sort of global patronage where we are obliged to pay for favours received in exchange for concessions given to countries or international organisations which allow them indirectly to put pressure on the political and economic decisions about which we are concerned. Neoliberalism has also created a system of internal patronage throughout all the agencies of the state, and these shelter various private entities [5]

Perspectives and possibilities for change :

Promote spaces for meeting where a person like Teresa feels that she is called by her name, her dignity recognised, where her sense of hope can be nourished… together with other women who are searching for ways to grow, to become liberated both at a personal level and with the group as a whole.

Refer to organisations/ places that are working on the causes : organisations and networks working to transform the situation of Teresa and many other women as well : promote local actions with global repercussions.

Community reflection / in groups :

  • Reread the situation in the light of Luke 13, 10-17 or another text.
  • How have you been enriched by this analysis ?
  • Chose a similar case and work at analysing it with other people using this as an example ; research the direct causes and the indirect causes of the problem you are studying.
  • Communicate your findings to the JPIC secretariat by September 30th 2009 and let us know whether you are prepared for it to be put on to our web site.

Sr. Hilda Coronado, LSA