Writers, psychologists and human rights defenders team up to produce a mix of fiction book and a handbook against violence.
Hromadske Radio presents its first book “Against Violence / About Us” (PROty NASylstva). It is a selection of literary works with commentary of psychologists and legal specialists, published in the framework of the project “Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine” that is financed by the government of Canada. Information presented in such a form will help bring the problem to a much wider audience. “This book is about the problem of domestic violence […], but it is also about us, because the themes that we touch upon are common for all. It is a joint work of writers, psychologists, social workers and legal specialists who have produced a certain set of thoughts about human rights, dignity and about how to fight for human rights,” said Roman Waschuk, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine at the book presentation at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Editorial team includes Ukrainian writers Sofia Andrukhovych, Yuriy Andrukhovych, Halyna Vdovychenko, Natalka Snyadanko, Yevhenia Kononenko, Serhiy Osoka, Artem Chapay, Marianna Kiyanovska and Larysa Denysenko; human rights defenders Halyna Fedkovych and Hrystyna Kit, sociologists and psychologists of “La Strada Ukraine” and of the Center “Women’s Perspectives”. “Although the stories are made up, in these situations you would probably recognize your neighbors, or possibly your past or you present. These are extremely relevant, very simple and psychologically powerful stories,” noted Larysa Denysenko, author and project editor, journalist at Hromadske Radio. Each story is accompanied by analysis of its characters behavior explained by psychologists as well as is followed by recommendations for them from a psychologist and a lawyer. Examples of how to file claims to the police are attached. Thus, the book is a methodological instrument that helps better understand the problem and suggests a solution.
According to the project authors the biggest problem is that no one realizes exact scales and the depth of the problem. “It often happens that a person is now aware that he is the victim of violence or that she is making violent acts, because these are traditions and have been practiced for years in the family. I saw it as a very important task to show abnormality of this situation as well as to show that there is a way out and it concerns everyone,” Denysenko emphasized.
Kateryna Levchenko, president of the International women’s rights center “La Strada Ukraine”, noted that law enforcement staff is getting 130-150 calls annually that have to do with domestic violence, however this is just 10-15 per cent of the general number of cases that are actually in place. Out of the 30 thousand hotline calls that “La Strada Ukraine” is getting, 70 per cent concern exactly domestic violence. Moreover, parliamentary voting for the draft law against domestic violence back in November (some MPs were insisting that the terms “gender” and “sexual orientation” are left out, the document caused ardent discussions in the parliament – UCMC note) as well as the fact that Ukraine has not ratified the Istanbul Convention, demonstrate that the problem is not perceived seriously. Levchenko noted that it is quite surprising for the country that is struggling for the right to live in accordance with European values, is paying a high price for that and is juxtaposing itself to the values of the so-called “Russian world” and its methods. The root of the problem lies in the fact that for many violence comes as a normal thing and that the victims themselves keep silence about the problem. “Ratification is just one step. […] We will not be able to move forward without changing our minds, values and understanding of the fact that violence makes our life poorer,” she emphasized.
The printed version of the book is available in the office of Hromadske Radio, in the office of “La Strada Ukraine” and at the Free legal aid bureau. It can be also downloaded for free from the web site of Hromadske Radio.