Butrón, Jaquelin (El Alto/Bolivia)
The importance of group attachments in preventing the abuse of children and adolescents
Violence against children and adolescents of both sexes is very widespread in El Ato, Bolivia, and is viewed as "normal." According to information from the ombudsman’s office, 83% of children and adolescents have experienced violence, and 23% have experienced sexualized violence.
Violence is rooted in society and is present in daily life. In order to impose discipline, teach, and gain the respect of children and adolescents, beatings, humiliation, and the like are common in families, in schools, and in city neighborhoods and villages.
Violence may be seen as a spiral. The escalation intensifies and becomes more frequent. This leads to an intensification of the violence spiral, which may spin out of control, leading to physical and psychic violence, including sexualized violence. This occurs in about 90% of cases where children are present. It takes place in spaces in which one might think that they would be safe and secure.
The perpetrators are often family members, friends of the family, neighbors, or school employees. They select persons who are unable to defend themselves, who may have already experienced emotional trauma, or exhibit fear and insecurity and may already have been the victim of other forms of violence.
Programs to prevent violence are urgently needed in situations like this. They contribute to a life with dignity, to the protection of the rights of children and adolescents, and to building an equal and just society.
It is important to include the entire society in any prevention effort. Because of this, SEPAMOS promotes the training of groups in their area with the goal of using concrete strategies to protect children and adolescents. In order for the members to be able to implement preventive measures, and to support and strengthen children who have already experienced violence, the members must be sensitized about these issues and have an understanding of the interventions that may be used. In addition they activate children and adolescent protective systems (e.g., mobilize the youth services department), encourage those who have been affected to come forth publically, and involve themselves collectively against the perpetrators of this injustice.
The synergies that result from cooperation in these groups in a social or professional system, along with personal engagement, strengthen people’s preventive work against violence and contribute to building positive relationships, while protecting the basic rights of children and adolescents.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Jaquelin Butrón is a sociologist with masters degrees in Public Management and Human Development as well as Education and Psychosocial Development. She has also done work and qualified in the areas of project leadership in the nonprofit sector, approaches and trends in contemporary sociology, international leadership (Georgetown University), planning and didactics of training programs, and the evaluation and monitoring of social projects. Butron is an expert in the area of child and adolescent rights.
Her focus is on the protection and restoration of the violated rights of children and adolescents of both sexes. She has been a human rights observer and been involved in the protection of human rights in Germany, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
She is currently director of SEPAMOS, “Servicios y Estudios para la participación ciudadana en democracia