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Amnesty International Report on Domestic Violence in Russia

Amnesty International released a report this week on domestic violence in Russia. The report gives some horrifying statistics on violence against women perpetrated by husbands, boyfriends and relatives. Here is the rundown:

  • 70 per cent of women said that they had been subjected to one or another form of violence (psychological, sexual, physical and economical) by their husband
  • 36 per cent of women experienced physical and psychological violence
  • 7 per cent of women endured all forms of violence (physical, economic, sexual and psychological) simultaneously
  • over 70 per cent of women said they suffered from some form of psychological discomfort in relation to their husband, including stress, anxiety, lack of confidence, powerlessness, dependency, despair, guilt, fear or inadequacy
  • 51 per cent of women experienced restrictions of some kind or had threats made against them. Twenty-two per cent were threatened with physical harm; 15 per cent were threatened with abandonment
  • 90 per cent of all respondents had either witnessed scenes of domestic psychological violence between their parents, or had experienced it in their current relationship.

And:

  • 58 per cent of women had been subjected to aggression from one or another close male (current or former husband, fianc? or lover)
  • 18 per cent of women found themselves in a situation of regular or severe physical mishandling by their husbands
  • 48 per cent of women beaten were attacked while they were pregnant, breast feeding, had small children, were ill, had lost their job or were experiencing difficulties at work, or were experiencing physical or mental suffering and found themselves in a position of helplessness
  • Over 60 per cent of women beaten by their husband had experienced various degrees of trauma as a result; 3 per cent of all those questioned required medical assistance.

If readers need to put a human face on these numbers, I suggest reading the section of the report that chronicles “Anna’s Story.” There is no need for further comment. The numbers speak for themselves. Amnesty is correct to name domestic violence as a serious human rights violation. Based on official numbers, 9000 women out of a population of 143 million are killed in 2003. For certain, the numbers are much higher. To get some perspective on the scope of the problem in Russia, here are some statistics for the United States. According to RFE/RL article on the report, 2,000 to 3,500 woman of a population of 300 million are killed annually in the U.S. at the hands of husbands, relatives, and boyfriends.

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