The official news site of Edina High School.

Zephyrus

Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

Picture courtesy of Sputnik International

Picture courtesy of Sputnik International

Morgan Sheehy, staff writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Envision a society where domestic violence is only acknowledged as a crime if the victim’s kidney is lacerated, arm is broken, or brain is severely concussed. Our communities and laws make this difficult to imagine, but this has become a reality for millions of people.

Russia has recently passed a bill that  decriminalizes domestic violence in the home. An abusive partner’s only punishment for inflicting a swollen eye, welts and cut, and the mental trauma that comes with being abused by a loved one is a night in jail, a couple hours of community service, or a small fine.

Currently, domestic abuse fits into the crime category, earning the offender a total of two years in prison. Under the new legislation, if it is a civil offense, not criminal, abusers would be released with a punishment equivalent to that of a smack on the hand: a fine of $500 or 15 days of community service. According to Yulia Gorbunova, a Moscow-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, domestic abuse would only fall under regular assault laws if the victim is severely harmed or hospitalized. A case such as this would lead to criminal charges such as imprisonment.

The bill was authored and introduced by two women: legislators Olga Mizulina and Elena Batalina. “[Women] don’t take offense when they see a man beat his wife. A man beating his wife is less offensive than when a woman humiliates a man,” said Mizulina in a live TV appearance. They believe that this bill will ultimately protect Russian families, making them stronger than ever before. People that supported the bill also argued that the government should not be involved in people’s family life and personal affairs.

The Duma, Russia’s lower house in parliament, consists of four hundred and fourteen of six hundred and sixteen members. Its members passed this legislation by an overwhelming majority: 308 to 3. The Federal Council, the upper chamber in parliament, passed the bill as well. It went on to President Vladimir Putin’s desk for signature, and was enacted on February 17, 2017.

As claimed by Russia’s official statistics, domestic violence accounts for 40% of all violent crimes in the country. In reality, this number is much higher. Human Rights Watch said that 14,000 women die annually from the injuries inflicted by their significant other. That is nearly 40 women per day. Women refrain from reporting domestic violence accounts because of the social stigma surrounding the situation, and cannot trust local responders to help. The police do not take calls of domestic violence seriously: “They say, ‘call us when he breaks your legs,’” recalled Gorbunova.

Helping to prevent domestic violence has become almost impossible now that this bill has been passed. Vital statistics will be skewed because more and more people will fear reporting abuse. Even politicians are less likely to speak up due to the majority’s approval. “It is clear that lawmakers recognized violence as a norm of family life,” Svetlana Aivazova, a Russian gender studies expert, told The New York Times. Russia already lacks safe places and resources for victims to flee to, and now victims have been stripped of their only legal security.

Author’s note: This article is based off of interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    The Politics behind the Cost of Living

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Our Responsibilities in Fighting Climate Change

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Save the Libraries

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Pros and Cons of the Block Schedule

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Should We Repeal Obamacare?

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Why Schools Should Teach You About Sex

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    The Destructive Effects of Deception

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Why Rogue One is the Star Wars We Needed

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    European History: A World History Credit

  • Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

    Opinion

    Are High School Students under too much pressure?

The official news site of Edina High School.
Russian Affliction: Law Decriminalizing Domestic Violence