Materials from the conference "Violence in the Family, Violence in Society"
Zvenigorod and Moscow, Russia
October 15-17, 1997
OPEN LETTER TO THE MEDIAOctober 16, 1997
We, the participants of the round table "Violence in the Family - Violence in Society," want to send a message to the mass media asking them to share their opinion on the growth of violence in our families and society. We regret to state that an invisible war is going on in our families, and the number of victims in this war is growing every year. Nowadays, 30-40% of all murders are committed in families, and their main victims are women and children. Society considers it an internal family affair, but we strongly disagree. Statistics on domestic violence crimes are similar to combat field reports: a total of 2,000 children commit suicide annually, around 50,000 run away from home, and more than 14,000 women become victims of their husbands or relatives. It would be a crime not to mention these facts.
Currently, domestic violence is characterized in the media as family scandals triggered by alcohol abuse and bad housing conditions. This approach perpetuates stereotypes which still exist in our society. The facts show that violence exists within families of different socioeconomic status and educational levels.
The officials of crisis centers, hospices, centers for victims of violence and hot lines know that such organizations are mushrooming across the whole country. Among the participants of today's round table are activists from crisis centers, hot lines, journalists, lawyers, social activists and representatives of non-governemntal organizations from Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Barnaul, Langepas, Irkutsk, Nizhny Tagil, Voronezh, Petrozavodsk and other regions of Russia. The swift growth of these organizations shows the scale of domestic violence as well as the increase in self-consciousness and commitment of society to its elimination. We believe that journalists should not stand on the sidelines.
We all need your help as only together can we overcome our common problem. Without your support, the voices of violence's victims will never be heard.
We ask for your constructive cooperation!
Sponsored by the NIS-US Women's Consortium and the Crisis Center "Anna" with support from the Ford Foundation and the Office of Women in Development of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Last updated: December 1997