29 October 2008

“If he doesn’t beat you up, he’ll beat me” - 24Horas

Infancy was marked by violence

The children that Leonor Cipriano brought into the world are scattered. They have been distributed between relatives and an institution

When she was a child, her father used to arrive home drunk and to beat up his children. At those times, Leonor would grab her mother’s skirt and try to hide there looking for protection, but the usual answer was “Go away because if he doesn’t beat you up, he’ll beat me”, read the Joana Case process files.

In João Cipriano, her brother, she found the nurture that the rest of the family denied her, they were always very close and the sexual relationship that developed between them was “naturally an extension of just that, an exchange of affection”, the same document continues.

Leonor was born in Soudes, a poor village which is located within one of the poorest counties of Europe, Alcoutim. She grew up and changed her partner five times, from those relationships six children were born.

Dina is the eldest daughter, who is now aged 18. When she was 11 months old, her mother handed her over to her paternal grandmother. The grandmother and the father raised the little girl.

When he was two months old, Marco met a similar fate. The boy who is now aged 14 lives in Messines with his relatives. Another boy lives in Porches with his father; he is now aged 8.

Leonor bore Ruben and Lara from her relationship with Leandro. The boy lives with his paternal grandparents in Mexilhoeira Grande and is now aged 7; the girl was handed over to the “Bom Samaritano” children’s home and is presently aged 5. The child was delivered to the institution because her father failed to pay the grandparents the amount that had been set by a court: 250 euros to help raise the little girl.

Joana was Leonor Cipriano’s sixth child, she would be 12 years old now.

Sad girl

In the village of Figueira, where she lived for a small part of her life, Joana is remembered as a sad girl. “A small woman”, as described by neighbour Maria Bárbara. And she justifies by saying that she still recalls how she “had to collect the clothes because rain was coming”. The girl that rarely smiled inspired the affection from those who watched how she took care of her siblings and walked to school alone.


source: 24Horas, 29.10.2008

1 comment:

  1. As I put it in another post, it's the tragedy of disfunctional families. Like this one there must be hundreds if not thousands all over Portugal. It comes from misery, little education, virtually no help from the social services, etc. This family was referenced to the social services, who did nothing.
    There's a portuguese saying that goes like this: "casa onde não há pão todos ralham e ninguém tem razão" - in a house where there is no bread(food), everyone scolds, but no one is in the right.
    Those who were abused tend to become abusers themselves, if you never got any love and compassion how are you going to know those feelings and give it back to others, namely your children?
    Leonor, like her parents before her procreated like rabbits, they did not know any better, it was just a fact of life, if you have sex you get pregnant and that's it.
    No love bonds between mother and child.
    How terrible to think that some of the children can be the fruit from incest between Leonor and João.

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