Bulgaria: protests against violence against women
Thousands of people across Bulgaria have protested against violence against women. The demonstrations were triggered by a brutal attack on an 18-year-old girl and the mild sentence handed down to her aggressor. Although she had been cruelly abused by her ex-partner, a court classified the act as "slight bodily harm" and released the perpetrator.
The institutions have ignored the problem
This case has revealed a deep-rooted social and political grievance in Bulgaria, comments the Bulgarian service of Deutsche Welle:
“The institutions — police, public prosecutors, courts of law, churches, lawmakers, media — are indifferent towards intimate relationships. The mounting numbers of women and men who have been sexually abused or even killed during sex are systematically viewed as a secondary problem, as ‘slight bodily harm’ — both in the literal and figurative sense.”
Things are starting to shift
The overwhelming reaction of the public has at last awoken the various state institutions from their hundred-year sleep, Kapital writes:
“Police and public prosecutors have at last acknowledged the citizens’ anger; the judges, who had acquitted the alleged perpetrators, held a press conference; the hospital has released the forensic doctor who prepared the report on the injuries until the case is clarified; and lawmakers have initiated amendments to the Criminal Code and the Domestic Violence Protection Act. These reactions — despite their only happening after the event — will at least do something to assuage the people’s frustrations.”