2 million children under the age of 14 fall victim to violent domestic emotional/sexual abuse in Russia annually.
More than 25 000 kids run away from home while being unable to cope with domestic violence any longer. Nearly 600 000 women who are victims of domestic abuse officially report cases of abuse to law enforcement. However, that is only 10% of a total number of victims. In the course of the past several years, women's mortality has risen by 20% as a result of abuse. Not enough government control turns out to be the main reason behind the overwhelming majority of crimes.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, starting from mid 90s, there’s been a steady growth of crime rate involving female victims. Official data indicates that more than 40% of women refuse to report the case. Apparently, only 10% of women do ask law enforcement for help. Often times, however, majority of women prefer to keep everything secret because they are financially dependent on their abuser. Also, few believe in the efficiency of judicial system and are afraid of possible vengeance. According to international statistics, those women who leave their “offenders” are facing a 75% risk of being killed than those who stay.
In addition, general public still continues to accuse women in their provocative actions. Besides, psychologists claim that the actual judicial process often results in repeated victimization, especially after contacting police and a gynecologist. Our investigative procedures are such that they make the victim go through this abuse many times in a row.
One of typical Russian characteristics is such that women, especially those in provinces, are not especially self-conscious. Based on a research study conducted by the Institute of psychology and a laboratory of the Moscow State University, traditional upbringing views women as being subordinate to men and regards 'marriage' as woman's main predestination.
Many Russian women are ready to sacrifice their professional careers and fully dedicate themselves to their families. At times, women think they act in their kids’ best interests. However, reality shows that such goals are mere illusion.
According to specialists from the support Center of victims of sexual abuse “Sestri” (“Sisters”), approximately 7 000 children fall victims to sexual abuse annually. These however are official numbers. The real ones are much higher. Most frightening is that such violence tends to occur in families where fathers or foster fathers abuse their kids. According to law enforcement, 38% of accused are relatives and 33% are family friends. It is rather difficult to prove one’s guilt and protect the kid in such circumstances, since our judicial system does not recognize a child as an adequate witness capable to testify. It is assumed that children tend to fantasize and say whatever they are told to say.
Aside from sexual abuse, verbal abuse and harsh treatment of a child is also a problem. According to the center of sociological and judicial psychiatry, children between the ages of 6 and 7 are the most common victims of such abusive behaviors. 60%-70% of them are constantly being beaten by their parents, host parents. Such kids are usually underdeveloped and suffer from various forms of psychological, emotional and physical disturbance. If parents are both alcoholics and drug addicts, they make their kids to follow their example.
Overall, nearly 2 million children under the age of 14 fall victim to all sorts of abuse, be it physical or emotional. For some children the outcome is lethal. More than 50 000 kids run away from home and become homeless. 25 000 of those kids are currently on the “Wanted list”. Many of them are probably already dead.
According to the US Justice Department, more than 97% of victims of domestic abuse are women. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), every third woman has been hit by either her husband or boyfriend. In fact, a woman in being hit every 9 seconds—more than 4 million a year. The data indicates that such problem is in fact that of a global character. However, the US in particular and other western countries in general have better developed public safety institutions aimed at protecting women and kids. Our country in turn still has a long way to go.
In the meantime, Russian victims can count on the organizations that specialize in psychological help. One of such centers “Spasenie” focuses mainly on helping abused women is located in the Moscow suburbs in Khimki. Some other centers are: “Sisters” (901-01-01), “Anna” (124-61-85), “Yaroslavna” anonymous hotline (282-8450).
One of the major problems of such centers nowadays is simply lack of finances. Almost all of them function on charities and/or grants from the Western countries. Many of the employees, including psychologists are volunteers.
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