Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has rejected a draft bill criminalizing domestic violence during a press conference last Friday, 5 October.
If the draft had been adopted, it would have introduced “economic violence”, “stalking”, and “harassment” concepts into the Belarusian law.
The bill covers all forms of domestic violence and measures to determine, prevent and combat it within a family and after a divorce. Besides, it would have officially prohibited physically punishing children.
President and the law
Talking to journalists Alexander Lukashenko recalled his own experience as a father and expressed his views on the bill. The president noted that although he is personally against the physical punishment of children, a “good belting could sometimes be useful.”
“It’s just nonsense from the West,” he said. “We will proceed exclusively from our own interests, our Belarusian, Slavic traditions, and our life experience.”
The Belarusian leader lashed out against same-sex marriages in the Western countries.
“Counteracting domestic violence, it is now a trendy wording in the West. They will soon have no families left, with men marrying other men.
Soon there will be no one to give birth to children. Why would we need to borrow their family standards?” he said.
Also, the president directed the local authorities, public organizations, the government, and the Presidential Administration to have a say in creating the law.
How people reacted
After the draft bill against domestic violence had been criticized by a president, some people took to social media to express their discontent.
Others acted more radically. This morning women’s bloodied clothes have been spotted hanging on trees in Gorky Central Park in Minsk.
Pieces of paper saying “every fourth women’s suicide in Belarus is the result of domestic violence” or “police won’t save you” were pinned to the clothes.
Psychologists, social workers, and ordinary woman shared their heartbreaking stories. One of such stories is by Olga Goa, the director of NGO Radislava.
“I look at all the women and children who are now seeking help at a shelter for the victims of violence.
I listen to their stories about how they were raped, beaten, and tried to commit a suicide, how they were stalked, tortured.
Children being raped for years, under the pretext of a parent care and love, being burned with irons and cigarettes, because “they behaved badly”.
Parents who don’t feed their kids and throw them out into the street and then the juvenile inspectors tell them “This is your father! Do you really want to put him in jail?!”
These are all traditional values that are not like those in “the West”, this is the NORM !!!!!! typical for our great Belarusian family values.”
The woman also recalled what it was to live in a family where you hide all sharp objects before going to bed, as you know you might be killed by your own dad unless you do so.
According to Radislava, every third woman in the country is subject to physical violence in the family, every sixth – to sexual violence. The current Belarusian law doesn’t contain specific regulations against domestic violence.