After sustaining severe beatings from her partner, Asya telephoned the police, seeking help in Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital.
“They said, ‘Did he use a knife? Did he try to kill you?’ I would say, ‘No,’ and they would say, ‘Okay, you call me when he tries to kill you, because we have more important things to do,’” Asya said, recalling two incidents from 2012.
Women had stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the Russian Revolution of 1917, according to its leader Vladimir Lenin, and were said to be at the vanguard of the drive to build an equal society in the world’s first communist state; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
The issue of domestic violence is moving to the forefront of public attention in Georgia after a series of killings of women at the hands of their respective spouses or ex-spouses made headlines in local mass media. While no quick fix exists for the spike in violence, observers believe that changing the way police respond to abuse complaints is a good place to start.
As elsewhere in the South Caucasus, Armenian women can expect to receive an array of toasts, flowers and little gifts on March 8, International Women’s Day. But there is one thing Armenian women won’t enjoy, or get anytime soon – a law covering domestic violence.
Officials in Armenia want to impose a ban on prenatal sex determination in a bid to discourage sex-selective abortions that favor males. The measure would aim to correct a growing disparity in the country’s male-to-female birth ratio.
Increasingly the issue of domestic violence in Armenia is a topic for public discussion. Yet, greater attention to the issue isn’t yet translating into an expansion of programs to alleviate suffering and address policy shortcomings.