In Mongolia, the place one in 3 households endure abuse at house but in finding massive hindrances to in search of lend a hand, domestic violence was once made a legal offence this yr. Journalist Grace Brown met with one girl within the capital Ulan Bator who described her stressful adventure from abuse to protection.
“He was perfect,” mentioned 36-year-old Tserenhand as she recalled how she met her husband for the primary time in 2004 as first-year scholars on the Law Enforcement University of Ulan Bator.
“A handsome, popular guy from a wealthy family. It was love at first sight for me.”
She laughed nervously as her arms started shaking. Early of their marriage, she mentioned, he become violent.
“When I was three months pregnant with my eldest child… I saw a monastery. I told him we should go inside and pray. He said no. I went inside alone, prayed and came out. The moment I got out, he punched me in the eyes.”
Over the following 13 years, Tserenhand, who best needs to be recognized through her first title, says she was once raped and overwhelmed through her husband, together with in entrance in their 3 kids.
“In 2009, he stepped on my eyes until one of the eye sockets fractured. I lost 90 percent of my sight in one eye.”
A legal offence
One in 3 households in Mongolia are suffering from domestic violence, in keeping with the National Center Against Violence (NCAV), with girls comparable to Tserenhand and their kids making up 90% of sufferers.
As a rustic of simply 3 million other people, throughout a space the scale of Western Europe, Mongolia is without doubt one of the maximum carefully populated international locations on earth. For nomads without a neighbours for miles around the huge, open steppe, households historically controlled their very own hardships.
For Tserenhand – who grew up within the geographical region, but moved to Ulan Bator’s sprawling district of gers (yurts) missing sanitation and central heating – asking for lend a hand was once no longer simple. Despite calling the police 5 instances throughout beatings, she dropped her fees every time.
Under Mongolian legislation on the other hand, domestic abuse is now not noticed as a circle of relatives affair to be resolved in the house. The newly-amended Law to Combat Domestic Violence (LCDV) – which entered into power on 1 February, 2017 – for the primary time classifies domestic violence a legal offence.
Under the brand new legislation, domestic violence within the first example nonetheless best ends up in fines and warnings but the second one example might be handled below the legal code.
This compels police to analyze reported circumstances of domestic violence – together with bodily, sexual, financial abuse, in addition to stalking.
“The involvement of police and their actions during a domestic violence case are specified now,” mentioned Arvintaria Nordogjav, attorney and co-ordinator for the criminal reform programme.
“After a domestic violence call, police must enter the grounds where the violence is allegedly taking place, assess the safety of family members, assess the situation, assess the level of danger towards the victim” and “provide safety to all victims”.
Police want extra coaching to make sure they reply accurately, Ms Nordogjav added.
For months at the run
After being overwhelmed at the eve of 25 December 2016, Tserenhand known as a taxi and requested the driving force to lend a hand her whilst her husband was once asleep.
In temperatures chillier than Antarctica, she escaped with their youngest daughter at the steep, icy roads of the ger district, prior to taking the opposite two kids from faculty day after today.
For a number of months, they stayed at a church safe haven, till he discovered them.
“In February, he came to look for me at my kids school. I was walking over when suddenly he grabbed me, threw me on the ground started kicking me. Then he dragged me inside the car. I screamed for help, but nobody came.”
After convincing him to take her to sanatorium, she slipped out in the course of the again door and located her approach to NCAV, a non-governmental group offering meals, lodging, fundamental must haves and criminal recommendation to domestic violence sufferers.
“Since finding out about NCAV and getting the necessary legal help, I told my husband… I want to divorce him… I think he got scared, as he is nowhere to be found now,” Tserenhand mentioned.
However, she isn’t pursuing legal fees, fearing retaliation from his circle of relatives.
The protection of survivors could also be in peril because of a scarcity of shelters. While the NCAV has helped greater than 20,000 domestic violence sufferers during the last 20 years, 5 of its 9 shelters had been close down in 2017 because of a loss of native govt investment.
The closures observe considered one of Mongolia’s worst financial crises lately, with overall debt achieving $23bn (£17,3bn) and expansion plummeting from 17.five% in 2011 to at least one% in 2016, after the rustic’s mining increase ended.
“Forty percent of our financing used to come from the government,” Ms Nordogjav mentioned, including that global NGOs additionally lend a hand.
“Unfortunately, this is now on hold for an uncertain period of time.”
Two shelters stay in Ulan Bator, together with one run through police and one through the NCAV, supporting 4 adults and 9 kids. Another exists within the north-western province of Zavkhan, and in a provincial capital, Bayankhongor.
So it’s now even more difficult for rural girls to flee violence, specifically within the freezing iciness, when temperatures plunge under -40C (-40F).
“We had a report that a woman from Omnogovi province who escaped from her husband was hiding in the mountains. This was in late autumn, when the first snow started to fall… Nobody knows if she is alive or not,” Ms Nordogjav mentioned.
Adding to the stress on survivors who run, no monetary reimbursement is to be had will have to they go away house, with maximum belongings within the husband’s title best.
“Most of them end up homeless, jobless and without child support,” mentioned Ms Nordogjav.
“They end up living in poverty.”
Additional reporting through Saruul Enkhbold.
If you, or anyone you already know, had been suffering from domestic abuse or violence in Mongolia, you’ll be able to touch NCAV by the use of e mail or name their counselling hotline at +976 96490505.
If you might be in the United Kingdom, those organisations might be able to lend a hand.