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The right to live free from violence!

“Auyl zheri”, # 3(69), 21/01/2005
NGO “Sana Sezim”
K. Abysheva

The right to live free from violence!

   The Legal Center for Women's Initiatives “Sana Sezim” carries out its activities in South Kazakhstan to prevent violence with these main purposes:
   - Development of effective protection and compliance programs to prevent violence.
   - Prevention and monitoring of crises through hotlines.
   - Moral, providing psychiatric and psychological care to women in crisis situations.
   Over the last quarter (October-December 2004) of our work towards the prevention of violence against women, the hotline was contacted by 218 people. On the issue of domestic violence, there were 93 calls, which included treatment for 68 cases of psychological abuse, 71 cases of physical abuse, 12 economic abuse, and 21 cases of sexual abuse. 118 received psychological counseling at the Center, 56 were victims of physical violence, 50 of psychological abuse, 5 of economic abuse, and 14 were sexually assaulted. Violence includes several types, i.e., a woman could simultaneously undergo both physical and economic violence. Legal advice was given to 19 people. 2000 posters and booklets “Domestic violence” and “Sexual violence” were distributed to various agencies and departments.
   Typically, offenders and aggressors in cases of domestic violence are close relatives: spouses, parents, sisters, brothers, and children - 86% of all appeals. A much lower percentage amount of women were victims from acquaintances - 12%. 2% from strangers. Women suffer violence for a long time (91% for one to five years) from within the family and for various reasons: lack of information about support services and various fears which are supported by societal attitudes about the role and rights of women in contemporary society.
   The situation of domestic violence causes damage to the health and psyche of children. Being in constant tension and fear, they become worrying, troubled, uncertain, and sometimes aggressive. Sometimes frequent conflicts can cause the children to develop neurosis. Children learn moral values and rules of conduct from their parents. The behavior of children who witness domestic violence in relation to others takes the form of aggressiveness, passiveness, or defensive action.


   I made several attempts at suicide, because of the beatings which deprived me of my life. I was too tired to live. The first time, he beat me unconscious in the street, in front of neighbors and a friend. No one stood up for me. Over twenty years of marriage, he regularly beat me and the children. We repeatedly ran away from home, I wanted to divorce him. But family members persuaded me to stay together with him. For a while he changed, but then it all began again, and now it is not confined to a fist. He threatens me and the children with a knife. I have appealed to the police many times, but they just came and said that it is your own business. And I am even asked: “How are you not ashamed of accusing your own husband?” After the visit from the police, the abuse and humiliation only doubled. I have previously worked in a factory, but then it closed, and I am now without work. I thought to sell the house, and secretly to leave with his children, but the house was recorded in his name. I am tired of living. I tell you, because he does not know you can write to our regional newspaper.
   Staff of NGO “Sana Sezim” view violence against women and children as a complex problem whose solution should lead to changes: in legislation (the adoption of the Law “About the Domestic Violence”, tightening up the response to rapists in the current legislation), in the judicial branch of government and law enforcement (to promote the formation of the judges better approach to victims of violence), and in the public consciousness (violence prevention). All kinds of violence against women, the emotional and verbal to the physical and sexual, are a social problem. To solve it requires us working together. Our Center is helping women victims of violence, to rethink their situation, restore the ability to control their own destiny, and make their own choices.