The vote of inertia / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

A woman looks at the biographies of the candidates before voting. (14ymedio)
A woman looks at the biographies of the candidates before voting. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 19 April 2015 — “He abused me, but I love him… many years together, I don’t want to leave him.” How many times have we heard this phrase in the mouths of women who suffer domestic violence from their husbands. And how difficult is it for family, friends, specialists in psychology, to convince an abused person to denounce their situation, to take action for their own good, to free themselves.

The victim has developed a deep inferiority complex, feels dependent and doesn’t conceive of life outside the “protection” of her owner. Although she has all the capabilities to be much better off without him.

“He gives me everything, it’s true that he has this character; he won’t let me go out, if I say what I think he punishes me, he won’t let me work, he says what he gives me is enough. If I talk with the neighbor – the man in the big beautiful house – he shouts at me and beats me, but I know deep down he loves me, and he does take care of me.”

The classic symptoms of the victim of domestic violence are also seen in the relationship of people with their governments when, for more than half a century, they have been the tough masters of the house.

Everyone spends their life lamenting the “untenable situation,” the streets, the trash, wages, water, bread, Internet, prices, bureaucracy, censorship… But deep down, no one, or to be fair, few, dare to upset Dad.

And so it explains a thousand and one times that, on a day like today, people come out to participate in an absolutely useless exercise, such as district elections in Cuba.

Sometimes we don’t realize how much the struggles for democracy resemble those that were fought for gender equality or against discrimination. In all of them, the most difficult thing is getting the victims to change their attitude to life, to cease playing a passive role and become protagonists of their own history.

But that does not make us tire of telling the people, like we continue to tell abused women: you don’t depend on anyone, it’s all in your mind. You have the courage to break free, not only will you be better off, you will also discover that through your own efforts you can be happy.