Families Code: Just because you own a piano, it does not make you a pianist

Families Code: Just because you own a piano, it does not make you a pianist
Fecha de publicación: 
26 June 2022
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When the new Family Code is taken to referendum and is finally approved, not everything will be solved within Cuban families, whose diversity and complexity relate much with the current complex and tough situation.


That is why, the specialists’ opinions here, even though they were shared on a panel organized by the Cuban Society of Psychology, last April, is still absolutely relevant and have a very important future projection.


Hence, it could be interesting, and above all useful, to share what was discussed in such panel: «The role of Psychology in the consultation, referendum, and implementation of the Family Code». Although the consultation is over, there is still a long way to go, especially in terms of deconstructing prejudices and other barriers.


The panel, broadcasted on YouTube, was made up of the M.Sc. Teresa Orosa and Doctors Roxanne Castellanos and Patricia Ares, of whom we share some minutes of her intervention.


Asked about what the new Families Code legitimizes and not, Dr. Ares drew attention to how in the collective construction of knowledge, arbitrary inferences can be made from certain concepts and categories. And it may also be believed that when speaking of legitimizing, relevance or visibility is being given to issues that are not actually legitimized.


“What does the Code legitimize? The law succeeds reality, but it does not confirm all reality. Much has been said that this new Code protects existing issues, but what does it protect? What has an ethical, human sense; what is related to human dignity; which seeks to ensure rights that were invisible, but protect human dignity, as long as their behavior does not legally affect or cause harm to anyone. Not because sexual abuse exists, we are going to legitimize it; no, it is sanctioned by law because it is an act of abuse that is done without the consent of the other. Not because it exists, we are going to legitimize it. These clarifications must be made so as not to make arbitrary inferences. Ethical stuffs are only to be legitimized, and the law always has to do with safeguarding ethics. Hence, not everything is legitimized.”


In response to another question about a possible sick society, the university professor was categorical:


“I wouldn't put that word. We are talking about social realities, and social reality cannot be psychopathologized, but we are talking about a complex social reality. And family change is not achieved only with a legal system.”


She continued by assuring that this is, without a doubt, a very good start, an important turning point, but a change in family, she said, can even lead to the dismantling of the symbolic order, what people consider to be appropriate and what is not. Sometimes, —she sentenced—, it is necessary to dismantle the order to create new instituting forces in the symbolic order.


“But this requires a system of influences. It is not just about the legal order, which is visionary, which is educational, with a pedagogical sense, which is not only punitive or compulsory, but has a prospective sense, with a look to the future, where there are realities that are being projected to future and are not part of today’s reality."


By building on this thesis, the expert stressed that it is a prospective family change, not an immediate one, designed so that, effectively, these transformations take place in social imaginaries, in the ways of conceiving family life, the education of children, sexual relations...


To explain how these transformations gradually occur, she exemplified with the issue of divorce:


“Remember that years ago, there was a whole stigma concerning divorce, which was seen as a family debacle, as irreparable damage to children. And these visions have already changed, the imaginaries are being transformed in the course of historical developments. And I think that something that could now alarm or be considered a threat to certain realities of interpersonal relationships, is going to become enthroned in society, and like other family phenomena, it is going to become naturalized, normalized, made visible in other ways. But it is a process that should be slowly implemented.”


Regarding the issue of adoption, she elaborated on the child's right to identity, on the need to talk to him/her about his/her parents and who his/her parents are, those who have raised him/her with affection and love, "just because you own a piano, it does not make you a pianist,” she stated in reference to the biological act of procreation and the exercise of paternity.


And that sentence could also be valid for everything new that the new Code implies. It will not change families overnight due to its transformative nature.


She highlighted that changes in families “must be accompanied by many coherent educational, professional, and media actions, because there are sometimes many double standards. There are subsumed discourses that can go against what we want to achieve.”


“The proposal is to try to make visible violence, vulnerability, which abound in our society; make visible realities that do exist, and the reality of Cuban family is unequal, heterogeneous, but without pathologizing. The goal is for families to try to achieve greater developments from these protective views of the Code and professions.”


Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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