Women’s rights: the struggle to end domestic violence

This year, Vladimir Putin approved a law that decriminalises domestic violence in Russia, a country where more than 600 women are killed inside their houses every month, according to the Russian Police statements.

Now, even more people are afraid that the situation will get worse. According to this new law if the victim is not “injured enough” to go to the hospital, and by this we mean no broken bones for example, the person responsible for the injuries will be punished by 15 days in prison or a fine, if it just happened once in a year.

Olga Batalina, one of the authors of this amendment, justified her arguments to the BBC, by saying that “for us, it is extremely important to protect the family as an institution”. On the other hand, Irina Matvienko, spokesperson from a women’s help centre in Russia (called Anna), guaranteed to the BBC that “domestic violence is not a regular fight within families” and that “we are talking about a systematic behaviour” which can be very “dangerous if the law allows it”.

After international women’s day, we talk about domestic violence towards women and how their rights are still far from being respected…

“I believe that women are starting to empower each other and that, hopefully in a few years, all these problems and non sense laws will be over”, says Rosário Campos, a master’s student in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom. However, Rosário agrees that a “lot of work is still needed” specially when it comes to “education”:

“If politicians keep implementing these kind of amendments, that means that boys and girls at school will grow up learning that it is ok to injure people you love…And if we go that way we are going backwards.”

Valéria Romanciuc, a 23-year-old Russian living in London, says she feels “embarrassed” and “sad” after hearing the news from her country:

“I’ve always been very proud of my country, even with all its flaws, but this year is definitely a sad year for women around Russia…I just hope this is all a huge mistake and like they approved the law they can also disapprove it.”

Are women fully reaching their rights in a near future? Will they stand up against this kind of policies, even if it’s not happening in their country?

For Valéria that is something “we are far from reaching, even though a lot has been done”, as for Rosário “education is the key” but “not just the one at schools, at home as well by watching moms and dads respecting each other”.

Zachari Duncalf, lecturer in Sociology at the University of Central Lancashire, goes further by saying that reaching gender equality “is similar” to “solving poverty”:

“We have, no doubt, moved in strides towards equality in some areas but as society develops and changes new inequalities arise in new areas. Secondly, what does equality look like? You can have two women exactly the same age, background, class, in the same job, lifestyle etc and one will feel equal to their male counterparts and the other will feel completely unequal. Both are just as valid positions and experiences.”

We hope, however, that gender equality is not that similar to poverty…But the truth is that both issues urge for a transformation in order to establish peace amongst every human being.

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