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Hungary: Violence “Behind Doors”

“At least one woman a week dies in Hungary as a result of domestic violence,” said Krisztina Morvai to the Central Europe Review in 2001, when she had published her book “Terror in the Family,” while working as the director of the office of the Hungarian Women's and Children's Rights Foundation (now she is an MEP delegated by Jobbik party). The mentioned fact has been announced several times in Hungarian media, but it seems as if nothing has changed about the situation by 2009.

In January this year, at the time of a debate on introducing a new law against domestic violence, the Hungarian Spectrum blogged:

President Sólyom doesn't seem to be too concerned, although according to Hungarian sociologists every week at least one woman dies as a result of domestic violence. And that statistic doesn't include old people and children who are abused or even killed. There was something on the books allegedly dealing with the issue, but it was totally ineffectual. Police couldn't act on the spot and weeks might go by before the case ended up in court. By that time, the plaintiff could be dead. Moreover, the police rarely acted. They simply didn't want to get involved in “family squabbles.” It was, for example, totally useless to call the police and report threats. The answer was: as long as there is no blood no action can be taken. I remember one specific case when such threats were uttered by a young boy against a young girl. The girl's family reported the situation. The police did nothing. A few days later the girl was dead. […]

Because of the refusal of the law in January by László Sólyom, the Hungarian president, the law was changed and the Hungarian Parliament voted on it in June again, and it came into force in October. The law, which has changed the regulation of limiting the freedom of movement to the person accused of committing violent acts, is still criticized (HUN) as not being effective enough.

This month, Hungarian NGOs joined (HUN) the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. Amnesty International Hungary started a Facebook event where they published their two campaign videos from 2005.

Giving the title of a Hungarian singer Zséda‘s new song dealing with domestic violence (“Behind Doors”) to his post, tegla07 wrote this (HUN) on his blog:

[…] You're walking on the street and you have no other possibility: you are either one of them, or not. You can't do anything else. You can't be independent – you are among them, or next to them. But a lot of people, and among the lot there are more and more, who try to live as if all this didn't exist. Until it turns out that their best friend, a friend of a friend, a colleague, a cleaning lady or a secretary, a female director, teacher, CEO, is beaten at home…

And why? Every situation is different, every fate is unique, but. But there are rules, there are limits which are impossible to step across. There are situations when the “why” fades, and you can't ponder over it – and mostly, you can't judge.

You can't judge somebody because of her “weakness” (weakness? she stands up to something that you, probably, would never be able to), because of her “powerlessness” (powerlessness? she re-builds herself every morning from nothing)… If somebody's hurt, there's no question there. You must get there, from anywhere you are. You must hug her, to let her know that she's valuable. To let her know that she deserves something different. […]

Nobody, nobody deserves those slaps. Nobody, nobody can think that he has club-law in his family. Nobody, nobody can just pass by a humiliated woman. Nobody, never has the right to speak in another person's ear about a woman hurt… When will we understand this?

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