Vicarious violence: Tomás Gimeno’s ‘revenge’ against Anna and Olivia’s mother

The disappearance of Anna and Olivia in Tenerife, and the recent discovery of the corpse of the second, has once again been put on the table another type of sexist violence: vicarious violence. A type of violence in which abusers they instrumentalize their children to cause the mothers as much pain as possible, children also becoming direct victims of sexist violence.

As explained by the clinical and forensic psychologist Sonia Vaccaro, this type of instrumental violence takes the adjective vicarious when it responds to the sense “in which the place of another person or thing is taken, as a substitute; or as vicarious punishment, which has been suffered or performed by one person instead of another “.

Anna and Olivia disappeared more than a month ago after Tomás Gimeno, their father, threatened their mother Beatriz telling her that “I would not see them again”. They had been separated for some time after a difficult relationship, between multiple threats and confrontations. He kept his promise and took the girls, who have been missing for 43 days in which the mother has done everything possible to hope that they would return.

Yesterday afternoon, the terrible outcome happened: the rescue services found Olivia’s body. The Police work with the hypothesis that Tomás he would have sedated his daughters before putting them in bags and throwing them into the sea.

Instead of physically attacking Beatriz, what he has done is take away what she loved most and force her to live the rest of her life with the pain of having lost her little ones. That is the vicarious violence that has been seen in other cases of sexist violence such as that of José Bretón, who in 2011 killed his children Ruth and José as revenge against the mother.

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Just a few months ago, he also denounced having suffered vicarious violence Rocio Carrasco in his documentary Rocío: tell the truth to stay alive. His testimony was a national uproar and also showed that vicarious violence does not always imply murder.

The daughter of Rocío Jurado narrated through tears the threats of her ex-husband, Antonio David, when they separated: “He [Antonio David] He has achieved what he told me when we separated, ‘you’re going to shit, Rociíto’. It has taken away the most important thing that I have in my life. He has taken them from me, not because they have disappeared, he has taken them from me by having them. Has made them hate me. That they have that image of me. Which is much more cruel still, if possible. I have had them dead while alive. ”


The Penal Code describes it as “a type of domestic violence that includes all that conduct carried out in a conscious way to cause harm to another person, being exercised secondary to the main one. Such violence is a form of child abuse that can go from the visualization and witnessing by the minor of aggressions on the part of one of his relatives to another or by the suffering from direct assaults as a method of causing harm. In many cases, the son or daughter is used in an instrumental way with the aim of harming the true target of the violence, the partner. “

However, in none of the sentences does it even appear the term vicarious violence in the text, What recalls Rosa Pilar Sáez, specialist in Family Law.

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“Judicially, that individual knows that he has no rights over his partner, but he does know that he retains power and rights over his daughters and sons. For this reason, he transforms them into objects to continue the abuse and violence. She knows that this woman will be able to shut up, tolerate, give in and continue to put up with many things just for her sons and daughters.. He knows that the most effective threat (which is always present in all cases of partner abuse) is: I will take the children from you “, explains the clinical psychologist Vaccaro who specializes in these issues.

The psychologist remembers that The woman believes that when she separates, the violence will end, however, if there are minor daughter or children, with this type of violent parents Calvary begins because they become the “instrument” to do him even more harm.

According to data from the General Council of the Judiciary in Spain, only 3.1% of cases of gender-based violence in Spain end with the suspension of the parental visitation regime that they have mistreated their women; and only 5.2% do the judges dictate the withdrawal of custody from the aggressors as a precautionary measure for the protection of minors.


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