Why this story matters:
Despite the fact that a women’s rights advocate is now Romania's PM, the country is one of the few in the European Union, where violence against women is rampant.
One in four women has been assaulted by her partner. New incidents, reported on a daily basis, are seldom prosecuted and result in a restraining order. The message is clear. Domestic violence is tolerated by both society and the establishment.
The governmental decree that is supposed to harmonize the existing legislation with the convention (on preventing and combating violence against women) is probably stacked in some drawer, forgotten. It seems that the dignitaries always have better things to do than tackle domestic violence.
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How bad is it?
- Nicoleta Botan, a teacher in the capital Bucharest was killed on January 26 by her former partner, who followed her inside the kindergarten where she worked, and stabbed her.
- Just two days before, Alexandra Marin died after her partner, an army officer, followed her into a hairdresser’s shop and stabbed her.
- The officer’s former wife revealed that the man had attacked her as well, and that she had to leave the country with her child to feel safe.
- Every day, an average of 39 women report assaults by a family member at Romanian police stations.
- Every four days a minor reports a rape by a family member. 25 % of the murders in 2015 in Romania were perpetrated by a family member.
- Members of women’s rights organizations signed a petition addressed to Romania’s new female Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila. They requested her to adopt urgent legislation, in order to monitor the enforcement of restraining orders in the cases of domestic violence, and to implement the Istanbul Convention.
- All in all, 88 organizations, which are part of the Romanian Network for Prevention and Combatting Violence Against Women, signed the open letter.
- The NGOs also demand the Romanian Police to publish a report on the number of restraining orders that were violated in 2017 and how police officers supervised the perpetrators’ compliance with the restraining orders.
- The petition was inspired by two cases of femicide conducted by the women's partners in public places, over past two weeks, despite restraining orders.
- In neighboring Bulgaria, the pressure from religious organizations has recently postponed the debates on the Istanbul Convention.