The media released, just a week ago, a new episode of sexual violence that has set off all the alarms at the local level due to the circumstances surrounding the case. According to the story that has come to light, the events occurred in the center of Tarragona, where two groups of teenagers met after spending a night out. It was already half past one in the morning when a boy from one group and a girl from the other were alone in a parking lot near Rambla Nova. Presumably, the perpetrator of the attack took advantage of that moment to force her to perform fellatio on him. Upon her refusal, he began to beat her violently until he finally agreed to her claims. When he finished, the minor stole his iPhone and left.
The victim’s sister alerted the Mossos d’Esquadra about what had happened, and moments later the family went to the police station to file the corresponding complaint. The police quickly located the suspect, a thirteen-year-old boy of Moroccan origin, with a history of sexual violence. Bearing in mind that current criminal legislation considers him incompetent due to his age, the agents released him and reported what happened to the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office and the General Directorate for Childhood and Adolescence Care (DGAIA). ), dependent on the Generalitat.
As I said, there are two circumstances that concur in the case, and that have generated an important social alarm: on the one hand, the family origin of the alleged aggressor, and on the other, the sensation of collective vulnerability before the criminals protected by the current regulations. about minors.
In relation to the first factor, there have been many who have related this attack to the series of incidents that took place some time ago in the Part Alta, linked to an ore center. Although the suspect of this latest attack does not fit this profile, it was foreseeable that important sectors of the local citizenry would make a hodgepodge based on the adolescent’s origin.
The temporal coincidence with the resolution of the brutal rape in Igualada, allegedly perpetrated by a young Bolivian with a history of ill-treatment and a complaint of abusing his younger sister, who abandoned his victim in a gutter with severe head trauma, believing her dead.
To continue to think that the delinquent environment of children and adolescents is reduced to making graffiti and stealing sweets constitutes an unforgivable naivety that presupposes living with your back to reality
At this point, it is necessary to reflect on the risks of promoting generalization. The electoral results of the recent French elections should alert us to the consequences of certain speeches characterized by identifying the foreigner as a potential danger. We should not cover our eyes in the face of statistics that show criminal cases linked to very specific groups, but transferring stereotyped visions that are based solely on family origins can become a snowball that is difficult to stop once it starts. Caution.
The second circumstance that has generated a strong controversy is the legal treatment of these facts that derives from our current regulations, which establishes fourteen years as the minimum age of imputation. That means that, legally, this week’s beating, rape and robbery are inconsequential from a criminal perspective.
This reality, difficult to understand for a large part of the citizenry, attempts to explain itself in the explanatory memorandum of Organic Law 5/2000, which regulates the criminal responsibility of minors, built on “the conviction that offenses committed by minor children of this age are generally irrelevant and that, in the few cases in which they can cause social alarm, they are sufficient to give them an equally adequate response in the family and civil assistance spheres, without the need for the intervention of the judicial apparatus.
I do not doubt the goodness of the courses on gender equality that the DGAIA will provide to the suspect, but it is logical to question whether it is an effective and proportionate response for a recidivist sexual aggressor, as is allegedly the case, since it would be reasonable to suspect that criminal inaction of previous attacks could have been understood by the author as a blank check for the future.
To continue to think that the delinquent scope of children and adolescents is reduced to making graffiti and stealing sweets constitutes an unforgivable naivety that presupposes living with our backs to reality.
According to the latest figures from the Tarragona Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office, three sexual crimes apparently committed by aggressors who have not reached the age of majority are reported every month in our province. And the statistics on this type of violence are increasingly worrying if we open the geographical and age objective, and we look at the year-on-year comparison of Barcelona.
In 2021, sexual assaults “with penetration” increased by 80%, from 92 to 166. In the same period of time, crimes against sexual freedom and indemnity grew by 41%, and the rest of sexual crimes by 34% .
Without a doubt, it is admirably well-intentioned to focus on the re-education of misguided children when trying to deal with this phenomenon. But we cannot forget that there is another factor in this equation, the victims, both past and potential.
I recognize that, on this issue, those of us who have young and adolescent daughters feel a particularly marked concern. And I’m not talking about punishment, but about prevention. Someday someone will have to explain to me why letting certain recidivist rapists go free, regardless of their age and nationality, must necessarily be considered progressive if one does not want to be branded a reactionary.