Domestic Abuse Seen as Socially Acceptable

Reporter Asliddin Ochilov looked at mistreatment of women in the northern city of Khujand, and found that mother-in-laws are often the main culprits.

Domestic Abuse Seen as Socially Acceptable

Reporter Asliddin Ochilov looked at mistreatment of women in the northern city of Khujand, and found that mother-in-laws are often the main culprits.

Thursday, 30 April, 2009
By tradition, wives in Tajikistan come to live in their husband’s family home, where they are often badly mistreated by their in-laws, and physically assaulted by their husbands.



Lawyer Faizinisso Vohidova says the courts are increasingly prepared to handle domestic cases of this kind, and a number of women have been convicted of abusing their daughters-in-law.



Orzu Ghanieva, head of the Gulrukhso Women’s Centre in Khujand, says few women are aware they have legal rights, and this means they do not take action when they are assaulted.



Over 2,000 women sought help from the Gulrukhso centre last year, and more than 250 have done so in January-March 2009.



The Tajik government’s Committee for Women’s Affairs is recommending that the age at which women can marry should be raised. The agency’s head Khairinisso Yusufi argues that girls who enter into marriage at too early an age are vulnerable to mistreatment by in-laws, and fall into the high-risk category of potential suicides.



But some people interviewed in the street – women as well as men – think it is perfectly acceptable to beat one’s wife. One woman quoted a local proverb with approval, “You have to hit women. If they don’t get the message, then hit them with an axe.”

Tajikistan
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