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Tabloid Tells Abusers How to Exploit Russia's Decriminalization of Domestic Violence

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The Russian federal government is very close to decriminalizing several kinds of domestic abuse, reclassifying “violence that doesn’t cause significant injury” as a misdemeanor. According to criteria laid down by Russia's Health Ministry, the draft legislation will decriminalize beatings within families that result in “minor harm,” like “small abrasions, bruises, superficial wounds, and soft-tissue damage.”

Last Friday, the State Duma approved the final draft of the legislation. Though the proposal has been controversial in the Russian media, just three deputies voted against it, while 380 legislators supported it. Now, the law needs only the approval of Russia’s always-compliant Federation Assembly, before it lands on the president’s desk for one final signature, and Vladimir Putin has already expressed his support for the bill.

Naturally, the Russian government’s move to decriminalize certain kinds of domestic violence has fueled an intense debate online, where you can also find no shortage of misogynistic jokes mocking the concept of violence against women and children, as well as jokes about the new avenues for expressing “masculinity” opened by a lighter approach to policing abuse in families.

While this kind of sophomoric humor is nearly ubiquitous on the Internet, especially with content related to women’s rights, it’s not limited to Russia’s “alt-right” lunatics sharing tasteless jokes.

On Jan. 27, hours after the Duma passed the final draft of the decriminalization bill, the pro-Kremlin tabloid “Life” shared a bizarre video on social media, titled “He Beats You Because He Loves You,” reviewing the “top five ways to commit domestic violence without leaving any traces on your loved ones.”

In 47 seconds, breezing through a jaunty little guitar song, viewers are treated to a playful montage of dancing clipart, explaining that people can use rolled up bed mattresses, place a book on someone’s head and pound through the book, smack relatives with an open palm, apply chokeholds, or beat the soles of someone’s feet. The final segment seems to show a child dying, as its feet are pummeled and the music becomes somber, before cutting to the Life logo and the hashtag “#wow.”

At the time of this writing, the video has 28,000 views on Facebook and more than 83,000 views on Vkontakte, where Life explained in a comment: “Here’s a video for you about what isn’t criminally punishable anymore. But you still shouldn’t do this.”

The video provoked immediate outrage from many in the Russian media — even from journalists who regularly experiment with edgy humor, like Igor Belkin, the mind behind “Lentach,” one of the RuNet’s most popular satirical projects.

In a note on Facebook, Belkin wrote:

Тут всякие хорошие и разные люди идут работать в “Лайф”, и, сообщив об этом на ФБ, удивляются, почему им в комментах нечужие и опять же неплохие в общем-то люди предлагают помочиться себе на лицо и так далее. Так вот примерно поэтому.

There are all sorts of various good people who go to work at Life, and, having shared this video on Facebook, are suddenly surprised when people they know — again, generally decent folks — comment on these posts, suggesting that they go and piss on their own faces, etc. Well, this is why that happens.

Domestic violence is an enormous problem in Russia today. Statistics released by the Interior Ministry in 2013, as reported by the website Meduza, show that police registered more than 38,235 abuse victims — almost three fourths of whom were women.

According to data collected in 2003 by Amnesty International, roughly 14,000 Russian women die annually from domestic violence — much of which goes unreported. At that time, researchers concluded that 36,000 women in Russia are exposed to domestic violence on any given day.

9 comments

  • Dirk Smith

    What a morally bankrupt society. General Patton was in 1945.

  • Anonymous

    All the more reason to boycott anything to do with Russia and avoid going there at all costs. We should also do what we can to get the women of Russia out of there and to a place that is safe for them.

  • Heidi Katt

    Its because of Islam…the more Muslims the more women are in danger its an incredibly misogynistic religion and definitely not peaceful

    • Matryoshkadollie

      Abuse can occur in any culture or religion. One of the dirty little secrets about Christianity is that there are a lot of abusive and misogynistic husbands out there. Some of them are ministers!

      • Heidi Katt

        Yes I know all the abrahamic religions are abusive in nature….though to my knowledge Jesus was not a misogynist which means most christians are not real christians. in fact one of the top positions held by psychopaths is clergy/imman/rabbi. Any position of power often attracts abusers, such is why religions where the man is the head of the household and the woman is nothing more than a baby factory/dick warmer often fosters abusive environments. I say women rise and poison the fuckers we don’t need em….we have the technology to make babies without them. Keep only good men.

  • Matryoshkadollie

    Regarding the video: what can one expect in a society where it seems like sarcasm and satire is the only language people understand? I hope the video shocks people into realizing that decriminalization of domestic violence sends out the wrong message!

  • JAMES Deano

    family law that tends to abuse the remedy of a court-issued protection order, resulting in injustice.

    Although the Law on Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (RA 9262), commonly called the VAWC law, was crafted to provide abused women and children a remedy to shield and protect them against further abuse either physically, psychologically or economically, many women, obviously upon advice by their lawyers, have been using this remedy more as an instrument of abuse against their husbands or male partners. Very often, a protection order is used as a tool to punish a man by depriving him of access to his children. All too often, women seeking a protection order are motivated by vindictiveness, sometimes even greed.

    Not too many cases falling under the law on violence against women and their children really involve a woman who is seeing protection because her life and limb are genuinely under threat by a husband, an ex-husband, a present or former male partner. More often, the VAWC cases clogging family courts involve a wife seeking a protection order against her husband when the real bottom issue between them is a mere marital dispute or personality clash.

    For example, a protection order is often sought to punish a husband who committed an act of infidelity, or to pressure him to give a higher amount of support, or to deprive him completely from enjoyment of community properties or assets.

    At the outset, when a petition under the VAWC law (RA 9262) is filed, what a court issues—if it finds reasonable grounds—is a temporary protection order. Its validity from issuance is 30 days but it is thereafter automatically issued every 30 days until there is a change in the circumstances of the woman or child in whose favor it was issued or until it is converted into a permanent protection order.

    What does a protection order consist of and how is it abused? A temporary protection order prohibits the husband or former partner of a woman to stay away from her and often, their children too, within a distance specified by the court. It also prevents him from calling, texting or trying to communicate with her and their children, annoying or harassing her in any way. It is abused in the sense that women who have been scorned by their husbands or partners, or who have had a fight with them, often get back by obtaining a temporary protection order preventing their husbands or male partners not only from seeing them and contacting them but from having any access to their common children as well. In such cases, children are suddenly without a father, not knowing why because he cannot even explain to them.

    In one case for instance, the wife left the family home after a quarrel with her husband, taking their two children with her. She then went to her parents’ home. When the husband was consistently refused entry into his in-laws’ house and when his parents’ attempts to mediate between them failed, he filed a complaint seeking shared custody of their children to whom he was very attached. After hearings, the court eventually ordered the wife to let the children spend weekends with their father. The judge saw for herself how the two children embraced and clung to their father when they saw him in court. Unfortunately, the wife, to thwart the court order, quickly obtained a temporary protection order from another court. Thus, when the man went to the place of residence of the woman to pick up his children based on the first court’s order, he was not allowed entry into the subdivision and the guards presented him with the protection order. Years have passed and to date, the father has not been able to see or talk to his children. The slow movement of cases in court and the ability of lawyers to abuse certain remedies even when they are not appropriate or fair have deprived many a father of their children’s company and love.

    In another case, a Filipina who was living abroad with her foreign husband left him with her three kids in tow when she learned that her husband was having an affair with another woman. Back in the Philippines, she obtained a temporary protection order for herself and her children. She also filed a criminal case against her husband for alleged psychological abuse. When the husband came to the Philippines, he found that he was not allowed to see or talk to her or their children. He was also served a subpoena involving a criminal complaint under VAWC filed against him by his wife forcing him to immediately leave for fear of not being able to depart and go back to his home country where his job was.

    In a yet another disturbing case, the wife obtained a protection order for herself and her children against her husband while he was away on a business trip abroad. When he came back, he had no home to go to as he was refused entry into their village. He stayed with a friend the evening he arrived. On the following day, he sought the help of some common friends to act as intermediaries between him and his wife to mend their marriage. She refused. She told their common friends that he had taken her for granted, neglected her and that this was a form of psychological abuse. She then took over the operation of the businesses established and formerly ran by her husband without any preparation or training for it. The protection order she obtained prevented him from going near their business offices because she claimed in her petition that she went there everyday. What was most unjust for him was that it was he who invested in their businesses using inherited money; it was he who exclusively raised the money to purchase their posh home and all its contents by borrowing from his mother. Now, he had no home, no work, no source of income and no access to the children he loved.

    For all its good intentions, the law on anti-violence against women and their children has been used as an instrument of injustice—a consequence not contemplated by it. The saddest of all is that children who are caught between their parents’ skirmishes have often become the biggest losers. They lose a father who is a necessary anchor for their balanced upbringing.

  • Melissa

    Two women were recently beheaded in Saudi Arabia for sorcery. I think that might be a country we shouild boycott. Russia is not much worse than the USA for domestic violence and no where near as bad as most South American and Asian countries.

  • […] after Russia’s parliament passed the final draft, pro-Kremlin tabloid Life released a video (“He Beats You Because He Loves You”) showing how to inflict pain without leaving a […]

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