Among all the ways in which humans are capable of inflicting violence such as physical, economic, racial, sexual, etc… psychological violence is perhaps the most rooted form of violence in our society. Its manifestation is subtle and invisible and that is why it is difficult to recognise, identify and prove it, even though the amount of people who suffer and cause it is increasing more and more every day. Violence and psychological abuse are present at work, in companies, schools, relationships and also in households.
On the last 21st of March, a new documentary series called “Rocio, contar la verdad para seguir viva” (Rocio, telling the truth in order to be alive) was released on the Spanish television and it is really having an impact on society. It is about the testimony of Rocío Carrasco, a very popular woman who is the daughter of Rocío Jurado, a notable Spanish singer who is also very well-known in Latin America and who died exactly fifteen years ago on this day.
In the course of the twelve episodes in which the documentary series is composed, week by week Rocío Carrasco narrates in detail all the psychological violence that she has suffered within the last twenty five years, not only from the side of her ex partner but also regarding the harmful and fake remarks published about her on the celebrity journalism. Throughout her testimony she details that she has gone through hell, an extreme panic atmosphere and how he has achieved to take their children from her, convincing them to be totally against their mother. The authenticity and brutality of her story have turned people’s minds upside-down.
The number of gender violence complaints received has increased by more than 40 % since the series began to be broadcasted on television. Many divorced women have seen themselves reflected in the documentary and have become aware of the fact that what was happening to them were not only isolated incidents.
Although the testimony is a clear denunciation of social and institutional male chauvinism, the reality is that psychological and parental violence is also suffered by some men at the hands of their ex-partners. And above all, children are the main victims. What is more, violence is rampant and does not distinguish among age, sex, social class or race, thus hindering all human progress. It is time to transform hatred, to stop seeking revenge. It is time to feel disgust and loathing towards every violent gesture found inside and outside of ourselves. It is the moment to stop being silent when it comes to any form of mistreatment, to stop looking for culprits and to say: Enough is enough!
The following letter was published in an epistolary style last May addressed to Rocío Carrasco in which several groups of parents affected by similar circumstances echo themselves and give support and testimony to the truth told in the documentary.
Dear Rocío Carrasco,
We are several groups of parents from different parts of Spain who have been exchanging experiences for years with the aim of supporting and helping each other to overcome the situations of mistreatment and psychological abuse that we are suffering, both our children and ourselves, at the hands of our ex-partners.
In some cases the bonds with our children were broken years ago, or are in the midst of a crisis and breaking down right now. Some of us have managed to recover our children and are trying to rebuild the bonds of affection which have been badly damaged.
We have followed your testimony with great interest and would like to express our deep gratitude to you for shedding light on so much darkness.
The situation of psychological and physical abuse that you describe which is concealed by the lack of knowledge on the part of society and institutions, is a clear mirror of the pain and sorrow that we suffer daily in our relationships with our children. You would be as surprised as we are by the similarities and coincidences between your stories and ours.
The psychopathology of the people who have alienated our children by turning them against us obey a behavioural pattern that seems to be from the DSM 5 manual, they fit perfectly. Hence, we have all, without any exception, seen ourselves reflected in your story and we have been moved by it. Some of us have eventually recovered our children, but even so, we have to tell you that deep wounds really do leave traces. Some of our children are undergoing psychological treatment since it takes time to overcome a trauma of such magnitude. Other people have got over it completely, turning their experience into a vital purpose of helping others.
Like you, we have addressed the underage and the people’s advocate, who have also responded with “tell it to the court”.
Like you, we have been abused by our ex-partners (both men and women).
Like you, we have endured our children’s attacks, lies, harmful words and their distance from us for years without being aware of the fact that this behaviour was the result of their distorted minds infused by the disorder of the other parent who used them as weapons and shields for their own benefit.
Like you, we have sustained the unprofessional practice of judicial psychologists with their diagnosis assessed in quick visits of no more than half an hour, on which judges rely entirely when it comes to passing a sentence.
Like you, we have felt powerless when it came to protecting our children and unprotected by clinical psychologists who do not dare to diagnose firmly and clearly.
Like you, we have endured injustice and the incompetence of Justice.
Like you, we have found ourselves defenceless in our own familiar and close-friends atmospheres and in many cases, even accused by them.
Like you, we have lived and many of us still continue to live as if we were tormented souls in psychological treatment. We are fighting against Goliaths, totally helpless, desperate, exceeded by a Justice and a Society which are corrupted and incapable of understanding what is happening. What is more, they are well-aware of the fact that we are not just exceptional cases but many people who are actually going through the same situation.
Like you, we are in the process of recovering and empowering ourselves.
Luckily, there are a few professionals who have actually specialised in Children’s psychological abuse due to parental alienation such as the lawyer Cesar Martín, the psychologist Julio Bronchal Cambra, the Filia Foundation with its new promotions on parental coordinators, and also international clinical psychologists such as Dr. Craig Childress or the Argentine psychiatrist Hugo Marietan.
We need, both psychological and judicial society and institutions, to review the concepts and procedures that are applied with regards to highly conflictive divorces since there are parenthood pathogens behind them regardless of the gender. It is essential to keep children away from judicial pressures, psychological warfare, abusive disordered parents, and to protect them without damaging family bonds. It is important for paternal and maternal-child bonds to be good and strong so that new generations are able to grow up healthily. There is never enough help.
RECUPERANDO CORAZONES GROUP (Recovering hearts group)
Child Psychological abuse
Abus de Faiblesse et autres Manipulations – Marie-France Hirigoyen.
Le Harcèlement Moral dans la Vie Professionnelle- Marie-France Hirigoyen.
SAP. Síndrome de alienación parental: Hijos manipulados por un cónyuge para odiar al otro – José Manuel Aguilar Cuenca.
About the author: Antonia Utrera lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. Writer, editor, and journalist. She has a long and worthy professional career in press and communication. She is the director of the Acelobert Barcelona Magazine. She is a member of the Noesis Humanist Studies Centre.
Translated by Claudia Bordalo