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Left on Their Own, Grieving Families of Rio de Janeiro Abandon Their Homes and Jobs

01/09/2018 - 11h30

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LUIZA FRANCO
FROM RIO DE JANEIRO

On the day her son was shot during a police operation in the Complexo da Maré neighborhood, Dilma Galdino, 39, put together a barricade on Avenida Brasil and set it on fire.

In the following months, she took part in demonstrations against police brutality and she was also interviewed in front of the Legal Medical Institute (IML), where she waited for five hours before the body of her son, Davison Lucas, 14, was released.

She mourned her son's death in public - now a thing of the past - but it's the mourning in private that seems to never end.

When a violent death befalls a family, everything changes – daily routines, personalities, relationships, financial situations and even living arrangements can change for families that have been affected.

Much has changed in the home of the Galdino family. Before, Dilma would get home from work and find a tidy living room, while in the kitchen, the dishes had been done by her daughter Larissa, 13.

Now, the dirty dishes are left in the sink and Larissa spends most of her time in her room. Dilma moved to a different place and left her job. Now the family lives off of her husband's salary.

"Nothing can bring my son back, but my mission is to hold someone accountable", Dilma said. An investigation into the incident, which took place a year ago, is still being conducted, according to police.

IMPACT

Violence produces both first-hand and second-hand victims. The consequences for parents and friends can impact both physical and mental health and social relations, and they can also lead to financial difficulties.

"It's an ordeal. Going through an experience of the sort, which has the potential to be profoundly traumatic, has a very real impact on one's well-being. Homicides are stigmatized. There's this belief that if someone was assassinated, it's because they were doing something that was wrong. That means that such deaths are not duly acknowledged", said Daniella Harth, a psychologist at Fiocruz who has done research on the matter.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Sergio Moraes/Reuters
Demonstrators protest next to a cross fixed by NGO Rio de Paz, in memory of children who died in recent violence episodes, on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro
Demonstrators protest next to a cross fixed by NGO Rio de Paz, in memory of children who died in recent violence episodes, on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro

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