Considered one of the country's deepest, darkest secrets, domestic abuse and rape are subjects that few Russians talk about, even though statistics show that 600,000 Russian women are beaten and/or raped every year, according to a report by BBC
, "The silent nightmare of domestic violence in Russia."
... despite many years of discussions, domestic abuse is still not recognised as a crime and this hampers help for the victims, reports BBC Russian's Oleg Boldyrev in Moscow.
In the Atlantic
, the World Health Organization reported on September 25, 2013, that,
one-in-five men in the Russian Federation die due to alcohol-related causes, compared with 6.2 percent of all men globally. In her 2000 article “First Steps: AA and Alcoholism in Russia,” Patricia Critchlow estimated that some 20 million Russians are alcoholics in a nation of just 144 million.
Approximately 97% of the victims do not seek judicial redress due to lack of faith in law enforcement, while 60-70% of women do not seek help at all, according to Russia & India Report
. BBC reports, "She lived in fear, not knowing where to seek help. When at last she decided to lodge a complaint with the police, several years ago, she was told little could be done about her husband as 'it was his home'."
In September of this year, Amnesty International
reported that a group of prominent bipartisan United States Senators had requested that President Obama speak against Russia's repression of freedom of expression, assembly and assorted human rights at the G20 Leader Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"In a letter sent last week, U.S. Senators
Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and John McCain (R-AZ), all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, say that while they recognize the importance Syria and other national security issues, as a world leader, President Obama must also prioritize challenging the abuses of human rights occurring throughout Russia."
“The United States must not give President Putin a free pass on repression,” the Senators wrote. “We hope we can count on you to prioritize advancing human rights as a central objective of U.S. relations with Russia ... Russia is a great power with enormous potential to help solve the world’s problems. But great powers should respect international human rights norms and uphold the rule of law both at home and abroad.”
However, last March, Trendwatcher
reported that Natalia Antonova, editor-in-chief of the Moscow News, had written an article titled, "Domestic Violence Finally on Russia’s Agenda." In it, she said that the Russian State Duma is considering a bill that "would finally see domestic violence specifically defined in the criminal code."
reported that in May of 2013, the State Duma was assessing a bill. Marina Pisklakova-Parker, who directs ANNA, a national center for the prevention of domestic violence, told The Moscow News that ANNA had been working on the bill for 20 years to make domestic abuse a crime in Russia. She personally worked on the draft bill that was in front of the State Duma at the current time. "The proposed bill will explicitly define the rights of domestic abuse victims and introduce multiple new sanctions on offenders."
However, Moscow News reports that "the extent to which this draft will begin to erode a traditionally dismissive mentality towards domestic abuse remains unclear." The good news is that there are 10 more shelters for abused women in Russia, making the total 30 shelters. Also, Pisklakova-Parker states that the Russian Orthodox Church is planning on open domestic abuse shelters across Russian. "One of the causes of domestic violence is gender imbalance and the views that women don’t have equal rights,” she said.
reports that as of August in 2013, committees in the lower house were still looking at the draft on domestic abuse, but there is no fixed date or estimation for a plenary gathering to start it moving forward.