Stop violence against women

My mother is this tiny, amazingly energetic Roma woman. I grew up in a mixed family – my mother thought she was marrying up the social scale. My father was an abusive alcoholic whose first wife committed suicide leaving him and two children.

My mother was the best mother one could imagine for the three of us. She worked very long hours both at work and at home. We were very poor but we always had clean clothes and something to eat. She used her old clothes to make new ones and she was always the last priority for anything.

My life wasn’t easy. I was the “Gypsy” child for my father and for a while the “stinky Gypsy” for the children in the apartments building where we moved when I was six. My mother would make up fairy tales with darker color skin heroes. One about a brown bear that “made it” in the world of the white bears I can recall almost word by word. She even made up a song : the essence of it was if you work hard and you are nice to people around you , you will make it in any world.

If my life was hard due to discrimination, poverty and communism my mother’s life was a hell.

My father became more and more violent as I grew up. He constantly threatened to kill us. As a teenager I was left alone at home- my siblings are significantly older and had by then their own families. I was constantly a human shield between the racist and alcohol generated fury of my father and my mother.

I did this for over a decade. I had times when I felt I should run away from home or hit back my father. I never did. We put locks at our doors. One night I had to stop my father trying to axe down the door of my mother in order to kill the “filthy gypsy”.

Divorce was impossible as there will be no place to move. Policemen were beating their wives too and domestic violence was not even a concept back then. My Romanian aunt thought that my mother should stop complaining as being beaten was a sign that your husband still loves you.

It is more than 15 years since I last stopped my father for trying to beat-up my mother. Things in general have changed to the better.

For the last decade I spent often time in some of the poorest places in Europe. Violence against women was always strident. Nowadays there are still far too many women that are in my mother’s situation.

We do have better legislation. We do have better police. But still the lives of far too many women are made a hell or stopped short by violence. Each year thousands of women are killed by their spouses. Tens if not hundreds of millions are victims of violence.

And no fairy tale, no songs, no good intentions will change it. We are the ones that need to change it. Each and all of us.

Stop violence against women !

For the video please go to : http://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-channel/end-violence-against-women


  1. There is not much more to say than you wrote.

    Or maybe… just some few thoughts. There is violence like ‘Honour’ killing in Sweden too, especially target against girls.

    As you wrote, We do have better legislation. We do have better police. But the exposed individuals cannot brake the silence wall.

    IMHO we also need to provide more specific knowledge in the early education. West World is individualistic and in some respects practice misunderstand political correctness. That sends signals to people coming from „other cultures” that is OK to kill or ritual mutilate their relatives in the name of culture. It is illegal, but no one are informing them about that in order to give a chance to not choose the new land.

    I agree that it is a serious matter and therefore no fairy tale, no songs help.
    But making realistic movies would maybe also help young people to understand the matter, not only with the reason but also with the heart.

    I hope many people will support this matter.

    P.S. I am so sorry for your own family problem you endured.

  2. Dear Valeriu, It is upsetting for me to learn about these experiences of your childhood, your life. There is a lot suffering in your story. Your Mother sounds to me like an incredibly strong and inspiring person, full of love and hope. I imagine that you must have her light. Thank you for letting us know about this campaign. There is much to realise and do to stop violence and hate against women. The hardest thing seems to be to change human behaviour, perhaps because it is lodged in psyche and bodily habits. Huge shifts required in consciousness and disrupting patriarchy.

  3. What a great story, I like what you said about policeman. Some them are abusive to their spouses and they easily side with the abuser at times. I’m a survivor myself and I look forward to the day when violence against women ends. miracassidy.com

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