Every woman has the right to independent choices, freedom, to be happy and loved, valued, respected. But does everyone have it? From the beginning of 2022 to the month of May 2022, there were 1,194 women victims of domestic violence. These are only the registered cases about which the victims reported. But their real number is much higher.
In the course of a study conducted by the “Amalipe” Center and as part of the Pattern project – Preventing and combating domestic violence against Roma women, we found that domestic violence against Roma women is not rare. Roma women who experience domestic violence face more difficulties due to poverty, social exclusion, discrimination and lack of social services in the areas where they live. They rarely report cases of domestic violence because they are not sufficiently informed about the problem and which services to report.
Many women do not realize that the actions of their partners/husbands constitute domestic violence. Regardless of their age and education, they all live in fear for their lives, that of their children, fear that if they try to protect themselves from the abuser, they will be isolated from the community. A life filled with pain, screams, blows, brokenness, mental and physical abuse. A life in fear.
Most victims of domestic violence who took part in our study indicated that they were afraid to take action to stop the abuse because they felt humiliated, weak, afraid that they would not find support from their families and friends, as well as from the competent institutions.
That’s why we decided to create the film “Turn the Page”, which will help all women, regardless of their age, education and ethnicity, to realize that domestic violence is not rare, no one is immune from experiencing it. And every woman who is a victim of violence carries the scars of it in her psyche and body much longer than a slap lasts. If slapping were the most severe action a bully takes….
In the mission we were helped by an outstanding student from a school in the network of Center “Amalipe” – Hristo Georgiev – art nature, a boy who often holds brushes and pencils in his hand, and replaces them from time to time with the guitar, which he likes to play plays. From an early age he was fascinated by drawing and music and created all the time. His teachers from the Vocational High School of Light Industry, Ecology and Chemical Technologies in the city of Yambol, where he is a twelfth-grader this year, help him improve his talent. Hristo does not neglect his duties as a student, he even spends time volunteering. Increases its capacity by participating in the Leadership Academy for students from the student parliaments of Center Amalipe, as well as in the 17th Children’s Roma Festival “Open Heart”.
The voice of Silvia Stancheva – a long-time fighter for the prevention of early marriages, breathed life into the wonderful graphics that came out of Hristo’s hand. This is how the script written by her and Anna Velikova came to life. A scenario that is so common among Romani women, but often remains hidden from the eyes of the victim’s relatives, as well as the numerous bruises, improperly treated fractures and the despair of the woman.
A story that can touch both adolescent young girls who are still learning what it is to fall in love, to be happy, to dream, but also to fight for a bright and pain-free future, as well as to women who do not realize how much domestic violence is a serious problem and how easily any woman can fall under the blows of the abuser.
The film can serve an educational purpose by being used in discussions with students and parents. To a large extent, domestic violence is also observed in so-called “early marriages”, which is why it is extremely important for adolescents to learn that there is another side to love, which is often learned when it is too late.