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    Every year, hundreds of thousands of women become the victims of domestic violence across Russia. The government has set up women’s shelters to provide services for women fleeing from violence, but is this enough to tackle this hideous and embarrassing social problem?

    Suffering in Silence: Lack of Law Keeps Rates of Domestic Violence High

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    by Nik Pavlov
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    Every year, hundreds of thousands of women in Russia become victims of domestic violence. The government has set up women’s shelters to provide services for those fleeing from violence, but is is enough?

    One out of two women in Russia (58 percent) has experienced domestic violence from an intimate partner. One of them is Julia, a 28-year-old sales manager, who is currently staying in a living room at her cousin’s place. Julia fled from her apartment last week after her boyfriend returned home drunk and laid hands on her… Again.

    While talking to me, Julia tried to cover her swollen left eye, already turning purple, with shoulder-length brown hair. Her hand, with the traces of dark-blue marks around her wrist, slightly trembled as she lifted it to fix her hair behind her ear.

    They’ve been together for almost two years and after six months of living together Alexei [Julia’s boyfriend] first hit her.

    “He was really sorry the next day and said he’d never do it again. I believed him then,” Julia told me.

    The young woman spoke softly as she recalled the events of last Friday. It was when Alexei’s large fist landed on her face and knocked her down on the floor that Julia finally decided to escape and seek help after two years of abuse and misery.

    During the early and mid-1990s, Russian women, fleeing from domestic violence, had fewer opportunities to seek help than they do now. There were very few social service agencies that specialized in helping victims of domestic violence. Things slowly began to change in the new millennium.

    In 1999, there were 2,240 social service agencies specialized in family issues, but within 10 years that number increased to 3,363, according to a report compiled by Marina Pisklakova-Parker, founder of Russia’s National Center for Prevention of Violence (ANNA Center). However, out of more than 3,000 social service agencies across Russia, only 23 were geared specifically toward helping women.

    Part of the reason why I think there aren’t enough women’s shelters is because Russia doesn’t have a specific law on domestic violence, which would criminalize the actions of offenders.

    Often, it’s hard to prove domestic violence to police. The cases of domestic violence become criminal cases only when a woman suffers severe physical injuries or is killed. And even when offenders are taken to court, most cases are treated like a private family matter. In other words, if a man beat up his wife or girlfriend, Russian criminal law wouldn’t treat him any differently than if he were involved in a street fight.

    “The lack of a specific law on domestic violence in Russia is a major obstacle to combating this violence,” according to a UN special report on domestic violence in Russia.

    To effectively persecute men who beat their wives and girlfriends, and decrease the rates of domestic violence, Russia needs a specific law that would define women as a collective group and specifically protect them from their partners.

    If the Russian government really wants to combat the issue of domestic violence on a deeper level, then it should pass a new law criminalizing domestic violence. By passing the law, the government would acknowledge that the problem exists and recognize the rights of battered women. When this happens, not only would more offenders get charged for their crimes, but more social agencies, designed to help women, would eventually spring up.

    Related:

    UK Government Unable to Protect Women, Girls Against Male Violence-Report
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    • Baybars
      Sad. Women are not treated very well in Any country but I am surprised to read your article about Russian women lacking any legal protection. It is only recently that laws have been changed in North America which had previously allowed husbands to 'rape' their wives, as 'rape' is now seen as sex without consent, even in the home.

      My ancestors and many North American indigenous peoples alive today still hold to a Matriarchal model of society. Women make the decisions for the group and family units and women own the property. It is a fantastic arrangement that, according to ancient legend and some archaeological digs was the dominant form of society thousands of years ago.

      Like drug addiction and biggotry, our society should not try to solve the issue by punishing people who have been taught these things from birth. It is our best interest to teach the children how to love and respect each other.

      I will not demand that everyone kneel before the Virgin Mary (PBUH) but respect for the Mother might lie at the heart of these problems.
    • Nik Pavlovin reply toBaybars(Show commentHide comment)
      Baybars, Thank you for sharing your story.

      Are there instances of domestic violence in Matriarchal societies among these North American indigenous groups? I'd assume rates would be much lower than in patriarchal societies...
    • Baybars
      Hello Nik Pavlov, thank you for responding.

      Families are families with their differences and issues, no matter where you are in the world. North American indigenous families are no different, where men carry out the hunting/fighting/heavy lifting duties and women look after domestic issues, healing and child birth. Yet there is a marked difference between indigenous families and what we see today in European/Asian families; it is the respect for a woman's ability to give life.

      Although embedded in aboriginal culture for millennia, the love and respect of 'woman' and of the 'mother goddess' has lost its hold on recent generations who must live and work among Western and Asian cultures. Aboriginal men and women who move away from the family unit (now relegated to reserves outside of major population centers) tend to fall prey to the western culture and end up adopting destructive lifestyles with the horrible results visible on city streets, bars and brothels. In these situations there are far too many incidences of domestic violence, crime and suicide. Indigenous people, along with half of the Chinese population are unable to metabolize alcohol, a fact which the white traders found useful in taking advantage of both cultures in recent history.

      Family units which remain together and reject Western/Asian influence stand a much better chance of overcoming the hardships created by living on reserves and of rejecting the lure of ‘the big city’. Those family units which I have observed in North Western North America and in Central America that have successfully stayed together, grown and prospered as a family all hold to the importance of the woman in the cycle of life. Sure the men get together in the lodges for stories and smoking and the men are who greet you at the gate or door but it is the women who hold court behind the scenes. In this atmosphere there is no room for domestic violence, unless it is the woman bullying the man which does happen with some frequency. For a man to strike a woman in these family units would mean the man can no longer live within the family and is ostracised, kicked out without support and forced to live and die in the western world.

      I thank my Grandfather for his lessons on how to live with the world and most of all I thank him for passing on the love and respect of the ‘mother’ to me. I wish that one day people will regain respect for life and those who are able to give it. Until that time people will not deserve the title of ‘human being’.
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    • avatar
      Tactical Investor
      When a man hits a woman 99% of the time it is an indication of extreme weakness by the man. Being drunk is no excuse; if you can't handle your liquor don't drink. Women in Russia need to unite and push for change. Change will not come from suffering silently. Overall it is despicable that men from such a smart and intelligent culture behave like one-celled amoeba's Nik Palov if you have the time send me a private message would like to discuss some topics with you
    • avatar
      Aussie Pride
      There's a certain mind set that all these men have that causes domestic violence, and it's complex. It actually has nothing to do with women. When they figure that out, they can change the problem. Start with studying the what's and why's of a bully. I'm not going to go into depth psychology here, it's too complex. But you would find these type of men show the same characteristics in other situations not involving women. It just seems more obvious when looking at the large numbers of violence toward woman. I can assure you if the female of the species was larger and stronger than the male and just as aggressive in nature, there would be little to no domestic violence of men toward women. This is about bully's and the mindset they have. Spoiled brats with an ignorant attitude. Lack of empathy, low ability to have a close emotional connection. They make bad parents too. (As they want to be the only child in the room, getting all their needs met). They are generally immature and selfish with poor impulse control. Total losers.
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