Gender based violence: grounds and outcomes
Every eleventh woman in Georgia is a victim of domestic violence…
Georgia is facing “GBV”
Figures and outcomes
Georgia is facing “GBV”
In recent years, much was done to understand the problem of domestic violence, its causes and
consequences in Georgia and the country implemented lots of programmes linked to this issue.
Despite the fact that there are huge amount of legislative means to struggle against domestic
violence all around the world, (for instance: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 20 years ago,
Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth
International Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995) progress has been slow because
attitudes are various for certain group of people and, to some extent, because effective strategies
to address domestic violence are still in process of definition. As a result, women in Georgia and
worldwide continue to suffer, and estimates varying from 20 to 50 percent from country to
The government of Georgia started to face the challenge and started to struggle against domestic
violence. In 2006, Parliament of Georgia adopted a law 'On the Prevention of Domestic
Violence, Protection of and Extending Assistance to the Victims of Violence'. Representatives of
MoIA take part in implementing the activities of the Interagency Council's work for the
prevention of domestic violence. Patrol Police Department and District Police Service are
actively involved in the fight against domestic violence as well.
There are also International organizations as well as local NGOs who are involved in struggling
against the above mentioned problem. Huge sums are spent on surveys, creation of special
centers, drafting laws and creation of data that will help the country to overcome the challenge.
But still some part of society including even law-enforcement structures are not ready to face
GBV and recognize it as a serious crime.
Figures and outcomes
Various factors must be taken into account to improve our understanding of the problem within
different cultural contexts and do not forget historically unequal power relations between men
and women such as socioeconomic forces, the family institution where power relations are
enforced, fear of and control over female sexuality, belief in the inherent superiority of males,
and legislation and other sanctions.
UNFPA conducted a research on Gender based violation in Georgia that involved 2.385
respondents from all over the country (the age groups vary between 15-49). The results were
astonishing; every eleventh women were victims of domestic violence, not to say anything about
women’s 78.3% who considered domestic violence as just a “family problem”.
According to research results provided by Estonian non-governmental organization “Open
Society” three main types of violence were revealed in Georgia. These were: physical,
phsycological and sexual violations. 50% of doctors confirm that psychological and physical
violation is a serious problem in Georgia, and the vast majority of victims is nearly 30 years old.
Dynamic of the problem is caused by various factors including unemployment, poverty, low
level of education, lack of awareness and what is most important, the way we treat such kind of
Sexual violence is under taboo. Women are ashamed to speak about it, meanwhile some even do
not consider this fact as a violence, but just “husband’s wish that must be satisfied”.
The problems in regions are even more, because people are more informed in the city. The most
common is unemployed men, who stay at home, drink and even use drugs to “overcome” their
unsatisfactory being. Such types of men are more aggressive.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has created the data on the victims and offenders that
clarifies a core problem: attitudes towards the crime and lack of awareness. For instance, let us
take the year of 2007, when Tbilisi and Mtskheta Mtianeti had 372 women victims that was
about 3 times more than the other regions’ number taken all together (these regions were Adjara,
Imereti, Kakheti, Svaneti, Samtskhe Javakheti, and Shida and Qvemo Kartli where the number of
women victims was 137 all together). These numbers somehow prove that the women do not file
a report for some reasons, or even do not think that the violence they face is a crime or even
violence, but just a normal part of everyday life.
The statistics of 2010 are even more alarming. According to MIA information-statistic bulletin,
which was issued in January of 2010 (p. 28) no fact of sexual or phsycological violence was
recorded in the years of 2008-2009. The reason of it can vary. On the other hand, it can be
shame, fear of reprisal, lack of information about legal rights, lack of confidence in, or fear of,
the legal system, and the legal costs.
The consequences of domestic violence are vital. Firstly, victimization is a risk factor for a
variety of unhealthy outcomes. In addition to causing mental anguish, violence also increases
women's risk of future ill health. A wide range of studies show that women who have
experienced physical or sexual abuse, whether in childhood or adulthood, are at greater risk of
subsequent health problems. Violence has been linked to many serious health problems, starting
with physical health problems, such as injury, chronic pain syndromes, and gastrointestinal
disorders, and a range of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Such kind of
crime also undermines health by increasing a variety of negative behaviors, such as smoking and
alcohol and drug abuse.
One and the most of important are children and the affect they receive from domestic violence.
Conflict between parents frequently affects their young children. Children who witness marital
violence face increased risk for such emotional and behavioral problems as anxiety, depression,
poor school performance, low self-esteem, disobedience, nightmares, and physical health
complaints. Such children also are more likely to act aggressively during childhood and
36% of Georgian women are under cronical stress because of fright not to face violence again.
Others suffer from different problems related to nerves.
Ending physical and sexual violence requires long-term commitment and strategies involving all
parts of society.
In 2009 Inter-agency Executive Council on the Prevention of Domestic Violence drafted action
plan on fighting against domestic violence and protecting victims of domestic violence. The draft
was approved on April 23, 2009 #304 Decree of President of Georgia.
The aim of the action plan is to secure implementation of effective measures against domestic
violence by accomplishing relevant legislation and implementing comprehensive measures by
the state. It also contains creation of shelters for the victims, and development of rehabilitation
programs, elaboration of rehabilitation conception for domestic violators, conduction of trainings
for target groups, recording of and classification the cases of domestic violence, carrying out
informative-educational actions, etc.
The State Fund for Protection and Assistance of (Statutory) victims of Human Trafficking, which
receives financing mainly from the state budget, was created on the basis of 2006 'Law of
Georgia in the Fight against Trafficking' approved by July 18, 2006 #347 Decree of President of
Georgia. The mandate of the Fund was broadened in January 2009 and it already carries out
protection and extends service to the victims of domestic violence including provision of shelter
to the victims of domestic violence, providing medical or other type of support to the victims,
and has a hot line as well.
Apart from these institutions, there are different organizations working on this issue, but the
success is not yet significant.
When working on gender based violence, we must not forget that violence against women is
perpetrated when legislation, law enforcement and judicial systems condone or do not recognize
domestic violence as a crime. As an example, we can observe information provided by Supreme
Court of Georgia; it states that there is no record of case linked to the domestic violence.
Moreover, when the violation takes place within the home, as is very often the case, Georgian
women try to keep silence and are passive. One of the major challenges is to end impunity for
Specific groups of women are more vulnerable, including minority groups, refugee women and
those in situations of armed conflict.
It is obvious that, despite adopting law on domestic violence, it is not working. This can be a
mental problem not only in community, but in the law-enforcement bodies. Some do not want to
be involved in other’s “family business”. Furthermore, what can we do if women themselves do
not want to realize that they are victims?
There are different directions to work on. Firstly, it is very important that offenders should
receive one consistent message from all sectors and levels of society – that those who commit
violence will be held accountable. The criminal justice system must act to reinforce this message
by taking action against perpetrators, as well as providing rehabilitation options for those who
offend. Services need to be developed that provide the possibility to change violent behaviour.
These services, offered at the local level, also need to address associated issues of drug and
alcohol problems as it is a common problem in the regions. The protection and safety of victim-
survivors should be the prime focus of legal systems as well as other institutions. It is important
that protective measures are provided so that victim-survivors are not left without adequate
protection, and are not re-victimized. Local authorities as well as NGOs and international
organizations must support the government in creating safe environment for victims.
Women need to be empowered through education (even the WHO Study found that higher
education was associated with less violence in many settings. “It may be that women with higher
education have a greater range of choice in partners and more ability to choose to marry or not,
and are able to negotiate greater autonomy and control of resources within the marriage” states
the report) giving them chance to receive employment opportunities and legal literacy. Human
rights education and information regarding domestic violence should be provided to people of all
ages and it should be started from the very early age. Assistance to help women rebuild lives and
provison of shelter and working place should be provided. This support must be fulfilled by all
sectors - the criminal justice system, health, and the private sector and institutions working on
this issue. Support must also be available to women via informal networks such as family,
friends, neighbours, and local community groups. The community must establish local culturally
appropriate mechanisms to support women by their own as well, because, in traditional societies
and minority groups, families have relied upon community-based support mechanisms or
religion to resolve issues of conflict. The local community therefore needs to be mobilized to
oppose domestic violence. Actions taken by local people may include greater surveillance of
domestic violence situations, offering support for victim-survivors, and challenging men to stop
the violence. Thus, community elders and religious leaders must demonstrate leadership in this
area. In my opinion, organizations, which are involved in fight against domestic violence, must
closely co-operate with patriarch and his team to take the challenge together. As Georgia is a
country with strong belief, this way will be useful as none of real orthodox will go against the
When working on GBV, whether being NGO representative, police officer or a doctor, one thing
must not be forgotten: each, who has touch with violence, must be appropriately trained. The
training must be conducted to all levels, and it must include phsycological, emergency and legal
But the most important that must not be forgetted is that culture and attitudes towards such crime
is not static, and newer forms of cultural norms need to be developed that respect women and
promote their dignity and safety. Considering the interconnections between the factors
responsible for domestic violence – gender dynamics of power, culture and economics –
strategies and interventions should be designed within a comprehensive and integrated
As expert report, the number of domestic violence in Georgia significantly increased. This topic
is very actual nowadays in Georgia. But some victims do not dare to address the court
meanwhile others do not even know that there is a law on domestic violence. Furthermore, some
women resist, others flee, and still others attempt to keep the peace by capitulating to their
husbands' demands. Generaly, women consistently cite similar reasons that they remain in
abusive relationships: fear of retribution, lack of other means of economic support, concern for
the children, emotional dependence, lack of support from family and friends, and an abiding
hope that “he will change”. So, even having legal tools, various programmes and organization
working on GBV issues will not be able to change anything if the attitude towards domestic
violence is not changed.
Let us try to break imagination that “he will change” and do not spend years living with this
hope, because remember that, we are not alone; our children are always watching at us, parents,
who are examples for them.