battered women in russia

Photo Credit: Yuri Samoligo

Some battered women find shelter in Russia

Published in USA Today on June 13, 2006

Olga Torgunakova lived for two months in the Lyubava Center, a women’s shelter with four beds in this city 50 miles northwest of Moscow.

Now, Torgunakova, 23, and her 4-year-old son have moved in with her mother, invalid father and two younger sisters. Torgunakova, who says her husband frequently humiliated and threatened her during their five-year marriage, has obtained a divorce with the shelter’s help.

She says the psychological abuse turned into beatings over the past year. “One night, he kneeled on my breasts and tried to strangle me and made it difficult for me to breathe. I still have pains from that,” she says.

That’s when Torgunakova called the shelter’s hotline, says Natalia Mikheeva, director of the Lyubava Center.

“If he beats you, he loves you,” goes a centuries-old Russian saying. A network of groups battling domestic abuse is trying to change that kind of thinking. A campaign in 80 cities repeats the adage on posters and asks, “Is that love?” The campaign, which includes public service announcements on TV and radio, was spearheaded by the National Center for the Prevention of Violence in Russia (ANNA) and conducted by the network of regional groups.

Read the full article Some Battered Women Find Shelter in Russia in USA Today