News Society, 16/12/2019

‘Break Circle of Violence:’ Kharkiv Joins Worldwide Action

“Sixteen Days against Violence” campaign has become a tradition in Ukraine over 15 years ago and is now seeing its third successive year in Kharkiv.

It took place between November 25 – December 10 as part of a global campaign against gender-based violence. During this period, several activities have been held in the city.

Students, schoolchildren, local authorities and city residents took part in the “Break Circle of Violence” flash mob on November 25. It was highlighted during the event that the problem of violence is very relevant nowadays.

 “Today, lots of children and adults face domestic violence. This can have a negative impact on their future lives, so we must resist it. With this campaign, we call a stop to any kind of violence,” Anastasia Servilova, one of the event’s organizers added.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Paint the World Orange: The Generation of Equality Opposes Rape.” Due to the theme’s color, the action’s participants with orange paper palms in their hands formed a circle and then tore it with the words, “Break the circle of violence!”

According to the event’s co-organizer, Field Monitoring Associate at UNFPA Ukraine Serhii Velihodskiy, the campaign aims to draw people’s attention to this problem, since the vast majority of victims of various types of violence do not even realize it. “It’s very important not to hide the problem but talk about it,” he stated.

He added that every year the number of reported violent incidents in Ukrainian families is gradually increasing: in 2017, the police recorded 110,000 cases, in 2018, it amounted to 150,000. It means that more people ask for help and counseling,” Mr. Volohodsky noted.

The Center of Gender Culture also held several events. Interactive communication, “Understand to Stop…” exhibition, “Break the Circle” performance, the Gender Open University class held under the slogan “Violence is Rubbish to be Taken out of the House!” have been part of this year’s active promotional campaigns.As part of the activity, Action against Violence participants posted various locations with informational materials on Maidan Konstytutsii. Police officers provided legal advice to citizens, explained where to contact victims of violence, what rights they have and provided a list of social services available in such cases.

According to Kharkiv National Police, during 11 months of 2019, there were more than 5,000 allegations and reports of domestic violence received by Kharkiv police departments. Under Article 126-1 (Domestic Violence) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, 64 criminal proceedings were opened. Overall, 19 of them have already been sent to the court with an indictment.

Police mobile groups are available round the clock to react to domestic violence cases in our city.

Reference: The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women since its inauguration in 1999 though it has been observed since 1981 in memory of the tragic death of the three Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960. The international campaign starting in 1991, originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute which was coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: city.kharkov.ua, Center of Gender Culture, National Police