Despite Tougher Law, Domestic Violence Persists in Tajikistan

Despite Tougher Law, Domestic Violence Persists in Tajikistan

More than a year after Tajikistan outlawed domestic violence as a specific crime, few cases are being reported because wives remain reluctant to report abuse.

Married women typically live with the husband’s extended family in Tajikistan, and violence may be inflicted by in-laws as well as by the man himself. There are strong cultural prejudices against outsiders interfering in family matters, and the victims themselves risk losing everything they have if they report the crime.

After many delays, the Tajik parliament passed the domestic violence law in December 2012.

The Gulruhsor charity in northern Tajikistan reports that the number of women seeking assistance for it because of various kinds of domestic group has gone up instead of down – from 2,000 in 2011 to over 2,500 last year.

However, the increase may also reflect a greater willingness to come forward and ask for help.

Another indication that this might be true comes from Munira Azamatova, a district judge who says women are increasingly applying for divorces on grounds of domestic abuse. In the past, men initiating divorce proceedings outnumbered women, but now it is the other way round, the judge said.

Kamar Ahror is an IWPR contributor in Tajikistan. 

This audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan. It was produced under two IWPR projects: Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan, funded by the European Union; and the Human Rights Reporting, Confidence Building and Conflict Information Programme, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of either the European Union or the Norwegian foreign ministry.  

Support our journalists