Monthly Archives: March 2014

Violența în familie

The people at Pro Prietenia have their share of really serious issues which they deal with on a regular basis. From human trafficking to offenders and also victims of domestic violence, those are some of the topics that are very dear to our foundation. With that in mind, in January, we together with volunteers from Ofensiva Tinerilor, had a course about domestic violence from Pro Prietenia’s main lawyer, Adina Moisa.

Even though all of us were more or less aware of this scourge, the information presented by Adina still gave us a lot of food for thoughts, breaking several misconceptions that some of us had. For instance, the first thing people need to know about domestic violence is how (sadly) universal it is. It goes beyond culture, religion, social status, race, age and even sex.

“Battering or beating is a form of physical domestic violence just as common in the developed as the developing world. In fact, the number one form of injury sustained by women in the United States is battering by an intimate partner.“ (Font: http://worldsavvy.org/)

 

dv2

But after all what is domestic violence? In a nutshell according to the Legal Dictionary (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com) is:

Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

This is indeed a very specific sort of crime that only happens among family members, and can be express in several ways:

– Physical: The oppressor uses force in order to have control over the victim, inducting all sorts of physical injuries. This can also be applied to the depravation of the basic means to sustain one’s health such as medicine, food or even sleep.

– Sexual: Not only the attempt of having any sort of sexual contact with the victim without consent, but also the act of exposing her/his sexuality to others by force (ex: prostitution). Domestic sexual violence can also be expressed in psychological ways such as: mistreating the person’s sexual abilities or even withholding sex.

– Psychological: It all comes down to the action of inducting fear in the person, which can be done for example by threats, blackmail, harassments, mind games, stalking or the attempt of isolating the victim from family friends or social life.

– Emotional: Degrading the victim’s self esteem and sense of worth by constant criticism on the victim’s abilities and competencies, insults, feeling manipulation, or induction of guilt.

– Economic: Making the victim economical dependent on the oppressor by taking control of the victim’s financial resources.  (Font: http://www.woodbridgedvrt.org)

Needless to say that every country has its own way to deal with such matter when it comes to the law and the consequent punishments applied to the offenders. Even if during communism this was in a way neglected, nowadays Romania does have a strong hand when it comes to penalties to aggressors, having their first legislature back in 2003 with Law no. 217/2003 on the prevention of family violence (font: Wikipedia), which was finally amended in 2012.

“Romania’s criminal code imposes stronger sanctions, including longer jail sentences, for violent offenses committed against family members than for similar offenses which are committed against non-family members;” (font:http://www.stopvaw.org)

Having said that it is not at all surprising that Romania also has to deal with such problem, and in the case of this Eastern European country, it is the women that take the biggest slice of the cake that comprise the victims of domestic violence.

“In Romania, The National Agency for Family Protection reports approx. 9500 cases of domestic violence per year for the two past years, 73% being against women.” (Font: http://www.transitionsgate.org/)

However, the same font also warns us that those numbers can be somehow distorted considering what the reality really is, and many cases fail to reach the authorities.

“Nonetheless, these statistics underestimate the reality of domestic violence, which in most situations, is carried from generation to generation as “normal” behavior. Experts estimate that the more accurate number of domestic violence is approximately six times higher than reported.” (Font: http://www.transitionsgate.org/)

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Romanian women in wedding dresses protesting against domestic violence, in Bucharest. (font: http://turkey.setimes.com/)

Just like in many crimes such as human trafficking, sometimes the biggest obstacles for those who fight it are actually the victims themselves, who fail to report the abuses they’ve been subjected to, due to many reasons. Some of them are the obvious fear of consequences, whether physical or psychological, the shame of being faced as a victim of domestic violence especially (if we consider people of an higher social status), and sometimes even the total lack of knowledge that they are actually being victims of a crime, by facing the aggressor’s actions as normal behaviors. Some victims also do tend to adopt a somehow passive attitude towards the abuses for fear of losing the “loved one”, by constantly forgiving the aggressor’s actions, in the hopes of an eventual change of attitude.

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Cardboard silhouettes representing women mortally victims of domestic violence in Bucharest, Romania. (font: http://www.thehindu.com/)

These reasons, while being absolutely comprehensible, do warn us about the complexity of the problem, that sometimes things are not black and white and stronger reasons counter the apparently logic decisions.

On the other hand raising awareness against domestic violence is nowadays sort of a hot topic, with information being disseminated throughout the whole web, and NGOs who fight against domestic violence being created in almost every country in the world, opening a small door for a brighter future for all the victims of this scourge.

La reverdere…

AS

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I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (gastronomy)

I’d lie if I said I don´t miss my land. Sometimes we don´t appreciate the everyday things around us and we have to take distance to see things into perspective. Malaga is well known for its beaches, in fact, we have 161 km of coastline called “Coast of the Sun“, but we are also the most mountainous province of Spain; actually, 32% of the land is between 600 and 2000 meters. Thanks to this geography, you can take a sunbath in a quite beach or you can do trekking at 2000 meters above sea level with only 30 kms between a place and the other.

Regarding the gastronomy, due to the charasteristics of the zone, we have a great variety of meals. On the inside of the province you can taste meats of wild boar, goat, rabbit… and the most typical dish in the mountains is the “Plato de los montes” (dish of the mountains) made up of pork products, that tends to be loin in lard, with a couple of eggs and chips, everything served in a large platter. It can also have chorizo, morcilla and a couple of garlics in the olive oil. Other typical dishes are the snails, the roasted suckling piglet, the stuffed sirloin, roasted shoulder of baby lamb.

Obviously the gastronomy of the Costa del Sol is heavenly influenced by the popular Mediterranean diet. Fresh fish, vegetables, legumes, fruits, good olive oil and excellent wines represent the food from the Costa del Sol. After a number of foreigners settled down along the coastline during the last years, also the regional were influenced.

The most traditional in Vélez-Málaga (my town) specialties are berzas (a cabbage dish with green beans, potatoes, chickpeas, aubergine, squash and meat), ajoblanco (a cold soup), ajobacalao (codfish and garlic dish), as well as sopa de maimones (a soup made with bread and olive oil and other ingredients), gazpacho (a cold soup) and chambao (made with diced tomatoes, peppers, onions and cucumbers and a quantity of olive oil) or “ensalada cateta” (country salad). Mostachones (a pastry containing pine nuts) and tortas de aceite (olive oil cakes) are the most notable pastries. It should not be forgotten that tropical fruits (mangos, custard apple, papayas and avocadoes) are some of the main products of this municipality and the visitor is advised to sample these fruits.

One of the most typical dish is the “Pescaito frito” (fried fish): It is made by coating the fish (blue or white fish) in flour and deep fried in olive oil then sprinkled with salt as the only seasoning. It is usually served hot, freshly fried, and can be eaten as an appetizer (for example with a beer or wine), or main course. Usually, it is served with fresh lemon, which is squeezed over the fish. We have a great variety of fishes like “chanquete” (Transparent goby), salmonete (Striped red mullet), “boquerón” (European anchovy), “pijota” (hake),  “cazón” (School shark)… and seafood like “calamares” (squid), “jibia” (Cuttlefish), “pulpo” (octopus).

pescadito

But the most appreciated dish is with no doubt the “Espeto de sardinas” (sardines on a stick): So many restaurants serve freshly caught sardines, grilled in front of your eyes. Often cooked on an old fishing boat berthed in the sand and located in front of the restaurant. It is about more than novelty value or a gimmick to attract tourists. It is about tradition. As is the way the sardines are cooked and served. For so many years skewered on wooden cane sticks. But now there has been some controversy over whether or not these cane skewers are a health concern.

espeto

The best place to taste this fish dishes is without doubt the “Chiringuitos” (local bars based by the beach) are a oasis for these warm days in summer, where you also can take a local beer (like San Miguel or Victoria), or a refreshing “Tinto de verano” (summer red wine, it´s a mix of wine with gaseosa or lemon soda) or “Sangría” (It normally consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of added brandy). I have my favourite “chiringuito” where I try to spend the most part of my summer days: “El Hornillero” is sited in one of the few remaining unspoiled beaches along our coastline. Besides, is built with natural materials and surrounded by native vegetation… and all the vegetal admixtures they use for their recipes are collected by them in their own ecological orchards.

hornillero

This is only a brief summary about the gastronomy (I could write about the sugarcane honey, the “moscatel” grape and the sweet wine we make with this variety of sweet grape…) so you can imagine how many things you can discover if you come here. There are thousand of things I can tell you about: culture and art, history, curiosities and secrets, weather… but that will be another day.

 

Ne vedem

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Gastronomy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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