Eugene Weekly : ¡Ask A Mexican! : 2.19.09

Dear Mexican: What is the deal with Mexican denial when it comes to dealing with child sexual abuse? I know counselors who tell me that it’s a big problem trying to get Mexican families to admit and confront this. In my own experience, I have seen my Mexican relatives be more concerned over the fact that their son is CERTAINLY NOT GAY than over the fact that there is a strong likelihood that he suffers repeated exposure to an abusing adult. Why the secrecy? Sometimes, I wonder why pedophiles just don’t focus on Mexican children, since with them is the least chance that their parents will acknowledge the problem. Is it a class issue? A marginalized-people issue? Or something especially acute in Mexican families?

Chester the Non-Molester

Dear Wab: It’s not just Mexican denial, Chester — or are you so clueless that you haven’t heard about the Catholic Church pedo-priest scandal in the United States and the silence of the faithful when it comes to their leaders’ role in the rapes of innocents? It’s near-impossible to find accurate stats on child sexual abuse of any kind, and Mexico is no different. Cicely Marston, a lecturer in social science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, wrote in a 2005 paper examining child sexual abuse in Mexico City that it was “extremely difficult to find any published information about [child sexual abuse] in Mexico, and information that exists appears in potentially unreliable newspaper reports,” that her study was “the first to my knowledge of sexual abuse in a general population in Mexico,” and doesn’t it tell you something that it takes a Brit to publish a report on the subject (the last time the Mexican government even bothered with such a survey was in its Encuesta Sobre Violencia Intrafamiliar, published in 1999 by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática)? The easy answer to your question involves Mexico’s usual suspects for any of its pathologies: Catholicism, machismo, la Malinche, age of consent is 12 — ustedes know the drill. But such an analysis is wrong, since child sexual abuse is such an underreported crime in all communities. Instead, the Mexican urges any raza who knows of or suspects sexual abuse to do the right thing: Call the cops and pray that all molesting fuckers rot in hell alongside this generation of Catholic bishops and cardinals.

Where does the word pinche come from, and what is the closest English translation? I always thought that is wasn’t that bad a word until I got banned from an online game for using the handle pincheGato.

Tex-Mexis do it Much Spicier

Dear fuckingCat: Its literal meaning is a kitchen helper, so it’s not surprising that pinche transformed into a synonym for “worthless” across the Hispanic world. And it’s also not surprising that in Mexico, where we transformed the word madre (mother) into a Swiss Army knife of the basest epithets, pinche assumes a vulgar connotation. It’s most popular as an adverb meaning “fucking,” such as pinche gabacho, pinche puto gabacho, or pinche puto pendejo gabacho. You can also use pinche as an interjection, but not a noun — you can express frustration with a gabacho by yelling “¡Pinche!” but you can’t call the gabacho a pinche. Like “fucking” in its adverbial sense, you can use pinche amongst friends and enemies, but don’t use it in polite company lest you get in a pinche problema.


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