Russia’s Women Suffer Setbacks

Russia’s interior ministry recently reported that the numbers of reported rapes are dropping, yet rape crisis centers say that the number of calls they receive has been consistent. Rape counselors estimate that fewer than 5% of rape victims report the crime to the police, with even fewer rapes actually being registered by the police.

The Russian government also does not keep specific records on domestic violence, although they estimate 25% of households suffer from it. There are only two tiny shelters for battered women in all of Russia, one in St. Petersburg and one in Siberia. There are no laws regarding domestic violence or sexual harassment.

Political representation of women declined drastically, from a high of 33% when Russia was a part of the Soviet Union to 7.5% in both parliament houses today. As for women’s employment, Anastasia Posadskaya, former director of the Moscow Center for Gender Studies, estimates that women now only earn 43% of men’s salaries. Women make up over 70% of the unemployed, and are banned by law from over 460 kinds of jobs, many of which happen to be high-paying.

Russian women are also bought and sold into the female slavery market, where they are foced to become prostitutes. European Union Commissioner for Justice and Immigration Anita Gradun estimates that Eastern European women make up two-thirds of the 500,000 women sold into sexual slavery each year.


St. Petersburg Times - October 13, 1997

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