Today is the International Day to Stop the Violence against Women. Campaigns and signs of solidarity are all over the internet.
I think about my family’s history. And the history of so many families touched by violence.
– He gave me a slap on my face, only once, was one of my grandmother’s recollection if her 35 years of marriage, shortened by the war and grandfather’s early departure.
By her world standards, this was a violence-free marriage. In a rural soviet medium, violence was omni-present yet unspoken. It was seen on women faces and bodies, yet left unnoticed. By the church, by the community… .
My grandmother knew nothing about human rights or Conventions. Yet, she gave me the strength to never accept any act of violence be it mental or physical. She gave it to me by the belief that she is always by my side.
As a child I witnessed violence in the soviet illusion of violence free communities. You got quickly to see that the ideal family projected on the soviet propaganda TV was in stark contrast with the reality. What women who suffered quietly needed was to know that there is someone by their side. They still need it today.
On days of campaigns like this, I ask myself: what can I do? Can I be someone by their side? Can we be someone by their side? So that they find the strength they need to live the life they deserve as human beings.