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Violence behind closed doors: the stories of three Slovenes who publicly talked about this to #intervju



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At the beginning of this summer, the book "The Book" was published in the Youth Book. You are guilty, written by a journalist after the story of three women, a victim of domestic violence. Gordana Stojiljkovic.

As a black chronologist, she has heard and written in countless stories that glacier her blood in the 20 years since she performed this profession, and it seemed to her that nothing could surprise her anymore. The stories of Alenka, Simone Nina and Monica, who have been victims of violence and abuse since the dawn of the year, have touched deeply. She decided to transfer them brutally to readers: "I do not expect you to understand their truths, their truth. Only those who have experienced similar violence can understand this. I only expect you to accept their truth. embellishment: "straight" into the vein. "


Alenka, Simona Nina and Monica publicly talked in this book about their past, full of abuse and violence. How does such a difficult conversation begin? I imagine that the interlocutors were not easily open to strangers.

From the very beginning I told them that we would talk about the things they wanted to say. I did not force them into anything, but I tried to return them to the period when they were doing bad things. Of course, this is difficult, because you are victimizing them again, returning them to these feelings, even if you are plotting it so thoroughly.

On the other hand, it seems to me that we quickly trusted. Last but not least I have a lot of experience as a journalist – I'm trying to get in touch with my interlocutor. If it is not the first time, you leave for the next time and try again, if it does not go at all, you adapt and so on.

Above all, we talked. I wanted to hear their voice in the book.




Gordana Stojiljkovic, a book You're guilty yourself


Photo: Ana Kovač

As a black chronicler you have heard countless horror stories. Did the stories of these three women touch you in a different way?

Yes. As a journalist, you usually meet a person who is involved in something, only for a short time. You can find out what happened, but you do not get deeper into the whole thing as I am now. You do not get deeper into the person, you do not go deeper into what happened to her. In this case, I've been with them for a long time, and I felt them. I liked that too, and I wanted to get to know them pretty well before I started writing.

In the introduction to the book, you wrote that you eventually found that you were asking the wrong questions. With that, did you have classical journalistic questions in mind?

Last autumn and this spring I was in Serbia on education, organized by the Incest Trauma Center Belgrade, a non-governmental organization for help to victims of sexual abuse and prevention of sexual violence. There they taught us, what kind of questions to ask the victims of abuses, so that you do not repeat them again.

It was alcohol, there were lots of cries, violence, it was scrubbing, it was blowing with my head against the wall. Hiding food. Closing to the room. Dog. It was a small family war that took place between mother and her father, but she was falling in the middle. It did not matter where, the father shared the blows. Her, sister, mother.

– excerpt from the book –

What journalists are doing with their classical questions "Who, when, where, what happened …" is more serious to the victims than the police questioning. We want to know the details because we are convinced that without them there is no story. In this training, however, I understood that I do not really need details. It's enough that someone says they've raped him. We do not need to be a voyeur and ask how it was, what did he do to you, what he said …




Gordana Stojiljkovic, a book You're guilty yourself


Photo: Ana Kovač

To present the story, it is essential how the victim has processed it. This is the most important for both the victim and us. What do we have readers about to read all the details and say, oh, how terrible? The reader needs information on how this situation can be solved. If something similar happens to him, he must know that there is a way out of this and where he can find help.

When I started talking about the book, Alenka was the one who knew all this, and she insisted that she would tell her story differently. And because of this, her story is no less horrifying. In fact, the descriptions of her thoughts, the things she is fighting every day, are even more scary than if she were to read what had happened to her.

Another mistake we make in the media are titles like "Monster killed his four children". When you use the word "monster" for the perpetrator, you leave the problem of violence away from people, from society. The reader in this word sees a certain deviation, something that is not normal, or someone who is not even a human being. With such descriptions, we get the feeling that it was a unique event, not something that is happening in society at all times.

It is therefore important to emphasize that this is happening between us.

Absolutely. Violence is occurring behind closed doors, equally in wealthy and socially vulnerable families, both among high and low educated people. These are often people who are outwardly arranged and never give it to them.

These stories are unpleasant to us, we look at them side by side. They seem to be a deviation, a lonely case, but in fact they are huge.




Gordana Stojiljkovic, a book You're guilty yourself


Photo: Ana Kovač

The statistics on abuse in Slovenia are eloquent, for example, 1,431 cases of domestic violence against women were reported last year, 298 cases of neglect and cruel treatment of minors, and 90 cases of sexual violence against children under the age of 15. And here we are talking only about cases that are reported. But the bare numbers do not seem to touch us anyway.

This should be talked about as much as possible. I see the solution in two steps. One of them is to introduce a prevention of violence at national level into the whole school system through various subjects from kindergarten to high school. The second one is that the limitation period for the perpetrators of criminal offenses against the sexual integrity of minors is abolished. In Serbia, which is not yet in the EU, they did so in 2013, which means that the victim can report the victim at any time. In addition to Serbia, this arrangement is also the United Kingdom.

Until 2008, Slovenia was a limitation period of ten years after the event, which is completely impossible. The child abuses deeply under pressure to survive. And only when he finds that he does not "stuff" something in different areas of life, he starts to think about what happened to him. What happened is that he can not establish an intimate relationship with people or relationships in general. And if you were abused at five years, you did not understand this at fifteen, so the limitation period was absolutely too short.

Now, the limitation period is ten years since the age of majority, which is still insufficient. My first interlocutor began to discover only about 40 years ago that something is wrong. And then it's too late to sign up.

The body remembers everything. The memory is cut into each cell, into each bone. The body knows, even if the head has no idea. That's how it was with me. For more than twenty years, I've been researching why I can not remember almost anything until I'm fourteen.

– excerpt from the book –

As regards education in terms of violence, children should talk about this as early as possible, of course in a way that is appropriate to their age.

Why do I think this works? Already since the fifth year of my daughter, my eleven year old daughter, every time we sit in a car, reminds me that I have to fasten myself. In Slovenia, this preventive campaign was so well carried out that the attachment in the car to children was self-evident. Children quickly understand and adopt things.




Gordana Stojiljkovic, a book You're guilty yourself


Photo: Ana Kovač

Therefore, education should be introduced into the school system, through which it would be appropriate for children to present what is acceptable and what not, that their body is only theirs and that they can respond to any touch that is not pleasant to them. With this child, we give rise to the thought that no violence is acceptable, and at the same time, those who may be victims of violence are given the opportunity to recognize and tell someone who will help them.

I think that in this way, in 20 years – it can simply not be faster – the violence in families is significantly reduced. By systematically raising children and young people, violence can no longer be acceptable. I am not saying that it will disappear, but it will become an excess, it will not be anything more normal than it is today – according to the statistics we are witnessing.

Does the system of protection for victims of violence and prosecution of perpetrators work with us?

I can not say that the system does not work because there are improvements, as far as the protection of children is concerned. But still, the victim in the process must explain and relive too much what happened to her. These are procedures that last even after ten years, and in some way they lame the victims of violence, preventing her from rehabilitating.

What does rehabilitation mean in this case?

In particular, the fact that this person is able to say: "I am not guilty, this is the fault of the one who did it to me." This is a very long way to go.

If I focus only on my interlocutors: they were all "the very curves" already in childhood, they were always in a situation when they had to apologize to someone for something they were not responsible for. And all the help was found very late. Not when it happened to them, but when they realized that they can not make life in any way. All the time they thought they were guilty of this.




Gordana Stojiljkovic, a book You're guilty yourself


Photo: Ana Kovač

Each of your three interlocutors gave a different "voice" in the book, one tells the first, the second in the second, and the third in the third person. Why have you decided on this approach?

There are three different women who tell their stories in different ways. And they are different, one has, for example, eliminated me with two sentences, the other has talked for several hours. But I did not want to put words in my mouth, I wanted to write their words, brutally and without embellishment.

They have won names instead of names because what they have experienced can happen to all of us. The names are completely irrelevant. Nevertheless, all three of them are presented at the end of the book because they want to speak publicly about this and want to encourage other victims to step out of the vicious circle.

This is what we often ask about stories about family violence – why do not you go?

I myself, when listening and writing, said: "Come on, what else should you have to do to say stop?" But the victim can not simply do this overnight, but I am not talking only about external reasons, such as the financial situation or the children. This decision is influenced by a huge number of factors, and such a decision is dawn for a very long time.

He was telling you all week who your kid is carrying. It's crawling over you. Slap and brush. The kid did not believe his child was his. You lost her in the fourth month of pregnancy. And she believed that it must be so. That's why you were quiet. And I suffered. And she was hitting her. Because you're guilty of it yourself. Because you did not cook enough lunch. Because you overlook dust on the shelves.

– excerpt from the book –

People have boundaries of permissible placed very differently. For me it would be "for the first time and the last time", and Simono was the first man to hit the first date for the first time. But she did not know anyone else, it was a pattern from childhood when she watched the grandfather beat her grandmother. Monica's father beat her, sister and mother. And if you grow it, violence is the only thing you know, and you do not even talk about it. You do not know that not all families are like this, but you accept this as something normal.

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