Decriminalising Domestic Violence

Decriminalising domestic violence..that’s an interesting thought. You’re probably appalled by the idea and wondering why I’m even writing about it. Well, to be clear, I don’t support this, not even a tiny part of me. In Russia however, some people do.

I recently read an article in The Economist (linked below if you’re interested in reading the full story) about a Russian lawmaker who is trying to pass a legislation that would decriminalize domestic violence and reduce penalties in cases of abuse. This act is lead by a conservative Russian senator, who is surprisingly a woman, named Elena Mizulina. Her bill would decriminalise domestic violence if it is a first offense and reduce penalties for multiple offenders.

I think Russia has a stereotype of having a fairly harsh culture, where traditions are very important. The man is the head of the household and the rule maker. This is just how it is and the tradition holds. Mizulina justifies her bill on these grounds. She argues that the most important thing is to “maintain authority in the family.” She says that a man who beats his wife does less harm than a woman who humiliates her husband.

When I read this I had no words. This sounds like something from the middle ages..but it’s 2017. I think as a society, we have made some pretty amazing strides in the fight for equality, not just for women, but for all people. We have to remember, though, that there is still a very long way to go and we have people in this world who even try to move us backwards.

At Made for freedom, a large part of our mission is to help people in vulnerable situations. Now (if this law is passed) we have an entire country of women in a vulnerable situation. Where if an abusive husband wants to hit his wife he can without fear of punishment. I just took this article as an excellent reminder and wake up call that the fight for equality is far from over. There are still large groups of people all over the world who are not represented as a whole person, who’s opinions are not truly heard and it’s the responsibility of everyone to stand up for what is right.

Link to Economist article

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21715670-why-are-we-even-having-argument-russia-should-not-decriminalise-wife-beating