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Below COVID-19, Domestic Violence Intensifies in Kazakhstan  – 90xtra


About a calendar year back, Gulmira fulfilled a male at a café in Kazakhstan. He seemed good more than enough, she recollects, asking for her cellular phone variety and in concerning featuring sly smiles. 

She complied, and a connection quickly blossomed. Gulmira, who is divorced and lives in a family-type dormitory with one of her daughters, would meet up with the gentleman, who she says handled her and her daughter warmly, specifically right after she misplaced her work in Almaty, the most significant metropolis in Kazakhstan.

“Unfortunately, our great partnership lasted only a month,” she claims. 

She went to a friend’s birthday social gathering, and when it was around, the man was ready for her. He appeared to be intoxicated, she suggests. 

“When we came to the dormitory and I received out of the motor vehicle, he started out beating me,” she provides. “He thoroughly has modified and he was certainly diverse from when he was right before. People today could hardly prevent him. That working day I immediately termed the law enforcement and ambulance and wrote a statement.”

The guy apologized the next working day, but the violence ongoing for months, top into the spring of 2020. Then the pandemic hit, which specialists have warned is exacerbating domestic violence across the earth. From Canada to Zambia to Kazakhstan, survivors of domestic violence are discovering it more durable to get absent from their violent associates. 

In Gulmira’s circumstance, her abuser went on trial in March for his actions. The prosecutor explained Gulmira experienced two options: The gentleman could be detained for 15 days or banned from approaching her for 3 months. She chose the latter. 

Soon after two months, the person observed her. 


“I don’t know how he identified me,” Gulmira says. “I have adjusted my handle and cell phone variety. At that time, I was residing in a dormitory, and he even uncovered out which room I was in.”

The male wished to enter her home, but Gulmira kicked him out.

“He obtained angry, threatened to get rid of me, and nearly broke a door. The watchman shouted and remaining. My ex-boyfriend begun shouting and throwing stones beneath the window. He injured my daughter.”

She resolved to change to social networks to seek out aid, one thing that professionals have also discussed. The Women’s Funding Network, the world’s biggest philanthropic community devoted to women of all ages and ladies, produced a hand sign that domestic violence survivors could use by using online platforms to sign they necessary aid. Initial piloting of the new gesture saw favourable outcomes in Canada.

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Diana Tansary, a human rights defender in Kazakhstan, is the director of the sufferer support fund Never Keep Silent KZ and writer of the ebook “The Entrance.” As a kid, she was abused, and as an adult, she has turned towards defending women’s rights. 

“The quantity of females who are calling us during quarantine has improved drastically,” she states. 

In the past, she claims, 10 to 15 women of all ages would connect with the corporation every day, but now that range has improved to 25. The corporation mainly will work with sexual violence survivors, but now, she provides, the group is assisting serve a developing amount of instances of survivors of domestic violence. 

“Unfortunately, women’s legal rights are not properly guarded in Kazakhstan,” she says, incorporating that the business wrote a letter to the president of Kazakhstan seeking enhancements to women’s legal rights protections but to no avail. 

All through quarantine, the organization’s hotline has obtained 42,000 calls above a 4-thirty day period time period, she claims. But only 8,000 of those phone calls have led ultimately to trials and just 4,000 have acquired justice.

In addition to weak legislation guarding females, she states a lot of have the erroneous mentality. 


“Although a girl who has been abused by her spouse complains to law enforcement, her husband’s relatives appear to her, urging her to reconcile with her partner or threatening and scary her,” she claims, referring to a new predicament.  

A female, she said, was abused by her partner and had known as in. Shorty immediately after, the woman’s sister called the firm and disputed her report, and the relatives requested the girl to reconnect with her spouse since of their young children.

“Our society need to realize that children cannot be joyful in the spouse and children where by their father beats their mom,” Tansary claims. 

In accordance to Human Rights Enjoy, Kazakhstan has no statute versus domestic violence, which — the business suggests — continues to be prevalent and underreported. 

Because 2009, Kazakhstan has experienced a legislation “On prevention of Domestic Violence” that offers for accessibility to shelters and social expert services, this sort of as psychological, health-related, and authorized support for survivors, says Viktoriya Kim, an assistant Central Asia researcher for Human Legal rights Observe. The regulation also presents for some protecting steps, these kinds of as limited-phrase protection orders, which are intended to prohibit contact concerning a survivor and their abuser for up to 30 days. Nevertheless, the 2009 Domestic Violence Legislation does not criminalize domestic violence as a standalone offense. 

“The other problem is that that law enforcement and the judiciary do not sufficiently enforce the 2009 Domestic Violence Law,” Kim says. 

Kim says there are other legislation in Kazakhstan that authorities use to keep perpetrators accused of domestic violence accountable. Criminal and administrative sanctions, as defined in the Prison and Administrative Codes respectively, can be imposed for domestic abuse. But the prison code does not criminalize domestic violence, and the administrative code is weak. In December 2019, the least punishment for “battery” and “intentional infliction of light-weight bodily harm” — which are the articles most generally made use of against perpetrators of domestic violence — was decreased from a fantastic to a warning for the very first time offense.

“Domestic abuse is a major crime and really should never ever be punishable with only a warning,” Kim adds. “There is a new draft law ‘On Combating Domestic Violence’ currently in the Parliament, but proposed amendments drop small of criminalizing domestic violence as a standalone offense.”

In March, a condition of crisis was declared in the region and quarantine actions ended up released. Nongovernmental organizations, as perfectly as federal government officials, have observed a increase in domestic violence situations in the course of the state, Kim claims. She cites Aida Balaeva, minister of facts and social advancement, who famous that for the duration of the pandemic the number of domestic violence conditions amplified by 20-25 %. 

In June, law enforcement officials released a nationwide campaign “No to domestic violence!” in response to the surge of incidents of loved ones abuse in Kazakhstan, Kim says. The campaign was aimed at increasing community awareness and stopping domestic violence and violence in opposition to ladies.

Meanwhile, Gulmira says she is nevertheless recovering from her actual physical and psychological accidents.

“I believe that if all this was deemed reasonably by legislation enforcement agencies and the courtroom, if the situation was done when and for all, if the victim was punished, 1000’s of vacant issues would not be been given, hundreds of women’s lives would be improved,” she says. 


Assem Almukhanbetkyzy is a journalist and a Bolashak scholarship holder. 

Kristi Eaton is a journalist and Tulsa Artist Fellow based mostly in the United States.