Marina Pisklakova is one of Russia’s most prominent women’s rights activists. In Russia, upwards of 10,000 women are killed by their partners each year, while 50,000 are hospitalised with injuries resulting from domestic violence. While Marina Pisklakova was conducting research at the Russian Academy of Sciences, she was shocked to learn of the country’s soaring rates of domestic violence. She was also appalled by the absence of legal protection, support groups or protective agencies for victims.
In 1993, she founded Russia’s first domestic violence crisis hotline, and went on to establish the country’s first women’s crisis centre. She has lobbied for legislation banning domestic violence, and has had to negotiate the obstacle of an openly hostile law enforcement in helping victims and in bringing perpetrators to justice. Additionally, Pisklakova has led a media campaign to expose violence against women and to educate women about their rights, making regular appearances on television and radio (Speak Truth to Power).
Today, Pisklakova’s organisation ANNA (National Centre for the Prevention of Violence) comprises 170 centres across Russia and the former Soviet Union. Alongside her work combating domestic violence, Pisklakova campaigns for an end to the trafficking of Russian women and children (Vital Voices Global Partnership).
Thanks to the work of Pisklakova and others, a degree of progress has been made in relation to domestic violence in Russia. However, serious work is still needed in Russia, where domestic violence rates are 30 times higher than most European and Western countries, and where women die every day from domestic violence (Public Radio International). This issue is increasingly pressing considering that, in 2017, a new law reducing punishment for domestic battery was approved in parliament and signed into law by President Putin.
For more information on Marina Pisklakova, including her story in her own words, click here.