Russia has decriminalized domestic violence in cases where "serious bodily harm" is not found. Basically, if your injuries don't result in a hospital stay, then the abuser can get away with his/her abuse with a roughly $500 fine or up to 15 days in jail if the victim presses charges. Moreover, as long as an abuser does not commit more than one severe beating a year, the new law offers this easy out to the abuser. Sadly, I'm not entirely surprised to see Russia do this, but I am incredibly enraged.
I'm not sure what is more outrageous--that Parliament passed this new bill to decriminalize domestic violence by a 380-3 vote, or that the Russian Orthodox Church believes that calling domestic violence a crime is the result of Western influences imposing liberal values on Russia? What kind of medieval world are these people living in?
Slate reported domestic violence as a widely recognized epidemic in Russia, with more than 600 women killed in their homes each month. Yet, the Russian government appears to be completely ignorant of what the scope of abuse can really look like. It fails to see that forcing victims to collect evidence in order to report domestic violence, so that their abuser can be fined or minimally jailed, will only endanger them more. It fails to see that abuse goes beyond physical violence and that the cycle of abuse is not something that can be contained to a once a year event. Russia has given the middle finger to all victims of domestic violence, especially those in its own country.
By decriminalizing domestic violence, Russia is inviting it into its homes, it is welcoming a culture of abuse, it is silencing victims, and it is allowing for and inciting grave human rights violations.
Here in the States Trump is reportedly planning on cutting all federal funding to the Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women. These grants help train law enforcement to respond to domestic violence calls, it directly supports victims of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, elder abuse, stalking, child abuse, and children who witness domestic violence. Regardless of whether abuse is directed at children, children who witness domestic violence between parents can and often suffer from trauma, too.
People often forget, too, that domestic violence is not just a women's and children's issues. 1 in 6 men will experience abuse by an intimate partner in his lifetime. What Russia is doing is deplorable and harmful. So, it can continue to puff its chest all it wants, but it is only bringing its own country down as it continues to be a grave offender of human rights.
BIG LOVE & HUGS