Imagine a war where the victims are kept prisoners in their own homes being abused, beaten, and raped every single day for over 10 years. Imagine instead of sympathizing and trying to help, society blames them and says they turned themselves into victims. If it is hard for you, you are most likely among the lucky people in whose homes domestic violence is not present.
Women between the ages 15 and 44 are more likely to become victims of rape or domestic violence than to get cancer, be in a traffic accident, war or malaria, says the statistics of General Secretariat of UN. Imagine that in this moment there are women and children who are prisoners of an invisible war every day. This is what her world is like for every fourth woman in Bulgaria or in other words for around 1 million of 3.48 million Bulgarian women. These women don’t share with others but suffer and live with the risk of losing their life, but are not ready to take a step towards change because they have nowhere to go to escape the daily hell they live in. They and their children need a world with no violence and need a safe home where the war has ended.
Currently, there are only 14 crisis centers for temporary housing in Bulgaria, which are their only hope to get away from the perpetrator and have an opportunity to start afresh with no humiliation, fear, beatings, abuse. These centers are a safe house where victims feel accepted and understood, and their suffering is respected. Their services are irreplaceable. The woman feels confused and helpless immediately after what she has been through, and shame and guilt are in the way of her seeking help from her friends or relatives. Then, in that moment, the specialists start taking care of the injured and her kids.
The temporary houses are not only extremely insufficient but they also lack the ability to maintain basic living standards for financial reasons. Peace, comfort, and feeling safe are overwhelmingly important in overcoming strong emotional distress. A lot of people need the services, the institution is used all the time and funding for its maintenance is not foreseen.
It is time to speak openly about the subject so it is no longer a taboo and to be placed on the agenda in society so we end violence against women and children. The price we all pay for it is way too high.
The project is part of the Raiffeisenbank’s donation campaign “Choose to Help”.