Four sisters from Dagestan after fleeing. Screenshot of the video posted on the BBC YouTube channel on June 17, 2023

19 June 2023, 20:30

Escape from family is a way to survive for North-Caucasian domestic violence victims

In the BBC documentary "When I Fled", girls from Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan tell that domestic violence, forced marriages and death threats had forced them to run away from their families. For victims of domestic violence, such escape often becomes the only way to save their lives, human rights defenders have emphasized.

The girl named Vika has run away from her family in Dagestan and went abroad, says the documentary posted on the BBC Russian YouTube channel.

"After my seventh form, they took me out of school. The household and the garden – that was all I could see in my life. At the age of 17, I was married to a man nine years older," Vika says.

She has noted that she soon divorced and returned home. Vika wanted to continue her studies, but her parents were against it; and her mother said that she needed to be treated. Then, the girl decided to escape, but after the first attempt, her parents managed to return her.

Patimat Idrisova, a Dagestani woman, said that she had been subjected to domestic violence and forced medical treatment. When she managed to escape for the first time, her relatives found and abducted her. With the help of rights defenders, she managed to leave the country. Relatives beat up and threatened to kill her, the SK SOS Crisis Group reports.

Vika told about the procedure of expelling the genies applied to her, when she was returned home after the first escape to Moscow. According to her story, there was always violence in the family – her father used to beat her mother; and after the girl was returned, her mother severely beat her up for Vika's turning to the police.

Vika has noted that the hope for a good outcome returned to her when she came across the story of Aminat Lorsanova on the Internet.

However, not all cases of escape from family end successfully. Vanessa Kogan, the first head of the "Justice Initiative"* project, said that in 2015 she was approached by Marem Alieva from Ingushetia. "We managed to get her with two children to Moscow, but after that, relatives began to put pressure on her," said Vanessa Kogan.

In September 2015, shortly after Marem Alieva returned home, she called her sister and said that many men, her husband's relatives, were gathering in the house; and she was afraid that she would be killed. Three weeks later, a criminal case was opened on the murder of Marem Alieva.

On June 12, Chechen law enforcers arrived at the Moscow airport to pick up Selima Ismailova, who had fled from domestic violence. On June 13, the girl, accompanied by law enforcers, flew to Grozny, after which human rights defenders lost contact with her. The father often beat the girl and threatened to kill her, the "Marem" human rights group has reported.

*On March 21, 2022, the Tverskoi Court of Moscow banned the activities in Russia of the Meta Company, owning the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, in connection with extremist activities.

**Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 17, 2023 at 10:34 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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