top of page

His name was Gabriel by Katia Elkaim

Dernière mise à jour : 4 mars 2021

One of these evenings, after having hesitated for a long time between not going to a restaurant or not going to the movies, I went for a documentary. Although the trailer warned me of the harshness of what I was going to see, I wasn't prepared for it.

In April 2013, in Southern Los Angeles County, an 8-year-old boy, Gabriel Fernandez, died at the hands of his mother and stepfather.

A healthy child ceased to exist.

A child was in excruciating pain during the eight months of torture he endured.

Suddenly, global warming, COVID, the vaccine rush, the President of the United States and the world economy were degraded to insignificant anecdotes.

Justice has done its work and condemned the perpetrators of this abject crime with the utmost severity, but in the end you will agree with me that this brings us no relief, because Gabriel, 8 years old, is no longer alive.

Why don't we see that the protection of abused children and the prevention of violence must be the top priority? I can already hear you telling me that it is, that since 2016, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, social workers are helped in their follow-up decision by a predictive algorithm. Apparently, the city of Bristol in England has also started using it.

Did you know that in 2003, in Switzerland, there were 0.8 deaths of beaten children per 100'000 inhabitants? Take a look at this figure. It means that for a city like Lausanne and its immediate suburbs, between 2 and 3 children under the age of 15 are killed by their own parents every year. In the United States, this figure rises to 7 children for a population equivalent to that of the capital city of Vaud.

The truth is that financial and human resources will never be enough to effectively ensure the protection to which these children are entitled.

And then, as I was told, it's more complicated than that, that each situation must be examined with tact, because removing a child from his or her home is also a trauma, blah blah blah...

Doing good for the child requires no doubt a lot of finesse and nuance. How to treat the case of these kids plunged in dysfunctional but pseudo-loving homes? Jana, 7 years old, goes to bars with her father almost every night, while her mother, a prostitute, works at night. When she falls asleep, she asks to go home but her father calls her a wimp and loses interest in her, until she collapses under a table. Oscar has his father shave his head at every visitation, because he hates long hair, defying the child's mother in the process. Arthur, 12 years old, has no bed of his own and sleeps sometimes with his sister, brother or mother, according to the available space.