Slovak NGO chair says half of all Romani women living in excluded communities experience domestic violence
"Violence against women in Romani communities is much more of a problem than it is in the majority society. It is not just more frequent, but also more aggressive," says Ingrid Kosová, chair of the Quo Vadis association in Slovakia.
"Such violence often ends with the victims bleeding. The problem is that it is almost never discussed," Kosová says.
A survey published six years ago by her organization found that physical violence in a relationship is even experienced by half of all Romani women from excluded localities and all of the Romani women surveyed experienced psychological violence. More than 200 women from 50 excluded localities in the Banská Bystrica Region were involved in the research.
"It is very often the case that many Romani women are not at all aware that their partner relationships are violent ones. That includes even integrated women," Kosová says in an interview for ROMEA TV.
"They consider it normal because they grew up in an environment where domestic violence was common and their mothers also experienced it," the NGO chair says. According to her, many people believe to this day that such violence against them is even caused by the women themselves.
"For example, they believe the woman must have provoked it, or not behaved according to the concepts of her partner. Some people also believe violence is just committed by men who aren't right in the head," Kosová tells ROMEA TV.
"That would mean every fourth or fifth man would be mentally disabled in some way, though. Naturally that's not true," the NGO chair says.
In the Czech Republic, research conducted in 2014 has found that irrespective of ethnicity, every third woman encounters domestic violence, compared to every 14th man, but just one in 10 victims ever contacts the police. Pope Francis called for an end to violence against women during his New Year's Mass at St. Peter's Basilica because such acts insult God, in his view.
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