Recent reports of domestic violence have more than doubled in Russia following the Government’s reduced punishment for spousal or child abuse from a criminal to a civil one. The shift has also sparked outrage from human rights groups around the world. The Duma – the lower house of the Russian Parliament – passed the bill last month, which has been signed off by Mr. Putin. One in three Russian women is believed to suffer some form of physical abuse at the hands of a partner, while 40 per cent of all violent crimes and murders take place within the home, according to the Anna Centre, Russia’s only domestic violence hotline.
Domestic abuse is a gendered crime that happens disproportionately to women globally. A 2013 analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Medical Research Council chillingly found that worldwide, almost one third of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. The study also estimates that domestic violence prevalence is from 23.2% in high-income countries; 24.6% in the Western Pacific to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region; and 37.7% in South-East Asia. Globally, as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners.
However, solutions and partnerships are continuously being created and formed to end this social ill. In Pakistan, a smartphone application launched this year is helping victims. The app enables women to report incidents of harassment to police in Pakistan’s Punjab province, one of the worst regions for this type of crime. Users who feel threatened can call an emergency response police team, who should be able to track their location via a built-in global positioning system. While in the UK, the Prime Minister announced this February that she will directly oversee the creation of new laws to deal with domestic abuse. The government has said that current legislation lacked clarity and a new act would aim to address this inconsistency, making the law work better for victims.
In America, Mary Kay, the cosmetic brand, has recently partnered with the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) for Stop Violence Against Women Day. Mary Kay Ash, the founder of the brand, understood how in an instant domestic violence threatens and destroys dreams. That’s why, Mary Kay Inc. and the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundationhas given over $53 million to domestic violence prevention and awareness programs in the past 15 years.
Now, Mary Kay has joined forces with GCADV, Georgia’s federally recognised domestic violence coalition, representing over 53 domestic violence organisations and programs across the state. It has been active throughout the state for over 35 years. Mary Kay knows that more resources are needed to strengthen the prevention of domestic violence, including primary prevention, i.e. stopping it from happening in the first place. In 2016, the Foundation awarded $20,000 grants to more than 150 women’s domestic violence shelters across the nation for a total of $3 million. Mary Kay believes that all survivors of domestic abuse should be able to get the help they need to empower them to move on from the impact of abuse.
Photo Credit: GCDAV