For the past 2020, 17 women in Bulgaria have been killed by their partners. These are just known cases, and we do not know exactly how many women end their lives fatally in their homes, as such statistics are not kept. It is known that as a result of the Kovid-19 pandemic, the cases have become more frequent, and the signals given by the police and the institutions working with such women are alarming. From January to September alone, 400 people sought support from the Animus Association Foundation, and 100 of them were children. But the signals also do not give a real picture of the number of women beaten and raped, as many of them do not dare to seek help.
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The attitude of most people (and especially men) towards women victims of violence further hinders the finding of an adequate solution to the problem. Numerous studies show that society does not support women and even blames them for being hurt by their partners. Recently, students from Sofia University conducted a social experiment that proves this. In the video, shot by Kamen Zhizhanov and Joanna Basheva - students majoring in "Social Activities and Practices" - a boy and a girl imitate that they are fighting and their quarrel ends with a fight. This happens in the evening in the dark in front of the National Palace of Culture. The purpose of the experiment is to show the reaction of passers-by who witnessed a beating by a boy to a girl. That is, whether someone will come to the rescue if they see how a woman is abused. The results are expected - passers-by pass the couple, pretending not to notice anything.
Kamen and Joanna's predictions are more than justified:
The initial hypothesis was that people in Bulgaria accept violence as something normal or something they should not take part in. The experiment showed that this is true - says Kamen. - My personal hypothesis was that at least some people will feel the influence of the fourth feminist wave in which we live today, but it turned out that I was completely wrong. Rather, people had never heard of violence as something to fight or as a social problem. Most people pretended not to see or hear anything.
In an interview with passers-by, some of them said that once a woman wins a fight, she deserves it. However, the facts are facts - a huge number of women in our country become victims of domestic violence and many of them end fatally.
How can we counter violence and how can we protect women who have already been affected?
On first place - identify the violence. Many women cannot judge when the threshold of normalcy has been crossed and continue to think that everything is fine or will be fine, despite the serious injuries. Women often seek help when it is too late. The very first case of injury should be a signal that things are out of control and the intervention of a specialist is needed.
Second - If you know a woman who has been a victim of domestic violence who is afraid to seek help, talk to her delicately, explain to her that this is the only way to protect her and that the consequences of not seeking help can be fatal.
Third - Do not be afraid to signal if you see that the life of a friend or acquaintance is in danger. No one likes to interfere in his life, but sometimes the intervention can be life-saving.
Institutions assisting women victims of violence:
Women's Association "Ekaterina Karavelova"
contact person: Hristina Georgieva, chairman - 086 821 495
Animus Association Foundation
contact person: Maria Chomarova - 02 9835205
SOS - Families at Risk Foundation
contact person: Anna Nikolova - 052 609 677
"Institute of Social Activities and Practices"
contact person: Nelly Lyudmilova Petrova-Dimitrova, chairman - 089 44 123 68
Open Door Association
contact person: Zlatka Macheva - 064 846 713
contact person: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Penka Stoyanova - 052 300 229
contact person: Dimo Dimov, executive director - 042 641 111
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