Thursday, August 12, 2004

Interpretation on child abuse

Filipinos are known for being caring, loving and patient breed of people. However, like every other human, we err and sometimes we hurt the ones we love. Discipline out of love (more often it leads to abuse) is the subject of my interpretation job today.

She is a typical Filipina mother who works so hard to give all the best for her child. For 9 long years she bore all the hardships life has given her just to bring up her son (deaf-mute)in more than a normal way. The great barrier between them over these years being away with her son while working abroad was ended when she finally got the chance to petition him. Her husband died a year ago. She now has the custody of the child. What she thought would be a paradise being with her son turned out to be an everyday headache. Problems with communication emerged and she had to look for ways to learn to understand him. She started attending sign language classes but that was not enough because her son has even deeper problem - a psychological one.

Spanish people are not accustomed to seeing their child beaten rather parents are beaten verbally by their children. That's the sad reality. They protect children here in a way that you cannot even pinch their ear because its tantamount to abuse and they can sue you for it.

The interpretation job was fairly easy, it was in Spanish<->Tagalog. One thing I was a bit uneasy was when I tried to explain and elaborate what the mother had exactly exposed and elaborated about the alleged beating of the child, the caretaker didn't give the time to finish all I had to interpret. Parang naiintindihan niya yung sinabi ng nanay ng bata kahit hindi! The caretaker was obviouly biased with what the child had declared to her. She was so sure of the abuse because the neighbors always hear the mother shouts at her deaf-mute son. So I asked permission to end interpreting the version of the mother because there was a lot of juicy and crucial information in there. Valuable information is already lost when you don't hear attentively to someone but even more in terms of "translating" if that particular information is not shared and expressed. Finally, the caretaker told the mother to focus on her deficiencies (communication, housing, etc.) and should try to be more patient and understanding with her son. They will be under surveillance and if one incident of abuse is manifested again then her son will be under the custody of the center for good.

From my point of view and based on the evidence I saw, there was no abuse only misunderstading. Discipline is quite different here in Spain or if I can generalize it, in Europe.

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