FAILING OUR FAMILIES: RUSSIA DECRIMINALIZES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Posted by Michelle Lu

On February 7, Russian President signed a law that would decriminalize domestic abuse for first time offenders in cases where it doesn’t cause “substantial bodily harm,” along with the Russian Parliament who voted 380-3 in favor of this law. Criminals would now face a fine of roughly $500, a 15-day arrest, or compulsory work. A few days after the law passed, cases of domestic violence in Russia had rose to 300-350. Vyacheslav Volodin, a Parliament speaker, said that the bill was “necessary to do everything in order to preserve the family” and that “a family based based on marriage is the safest for the women and children” stating that the government should not interfere between problems in a marriage or family . Before the bill was passed, victims had to collect their own evidence and pay for help as now, it is the police and public prosecutor’s responsibility to prove in court that he/she had been abused . Many officers who do respond to calls of domestic violence are often no help as they would only step in if she got killed.

Hearing this news was upsetting as we are now in 2017 and there are still issues with women getting justice for domestic violence cases not only in America, but around the world and specifically in Russia now. It is also upsetting to know that 71 of the 383 positions in the Russian Parliament are taken up by women, though there were only 3 votes against this law. At a young age, women are taught from the old Russian proverb, “If he beats you it means he loves you,” creating a society where it is okay for men to hit women, though it is not okay.  Women around the world are not getting enough resources for help as they feel that their actions to reporting a case are non effective.