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Dali Bagration-Gruzinski Gender based violence: grounds and outcomes Every eleventh woman in Georgia is a victim of domestic violence… Content Georgia is facing “GBV” Figures and outcomes Measures Conclusion 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 country. 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 crime. 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 adolescence. 36% of Georgian women are under cronical stress because of fright not to face violence again. Others suffer from different problems related to nerves. Measures 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 perpetrators. 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 church. 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 fields. 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 framework. Conclusion 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.
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