Man Attacks Wife With A Kitchen Spatula, Breaking Her Arms
A 33-year-old Russian man is spending some time behind bars after breaking both of his wife’s arms because “she no longer scolded” him. He is blaming his outburst on the anti-stress prescription medication his wife had recently started taking which made her no longer angry with him. The change in her behavior made him “deeply frustrated”. The man’s wife didn’t seem to care enough to criticize him anymore, he said. He had come home that night intoxicated and she didn’t react as expected. So, he attacked her with a metal kitchen spatula. Then, he notified an ambulance and she was taken to a hospital for treatment. “The man couldn’t bear her being so calm and composed — and he attacked her,” an officer reported. He faces up to five years for domestic violence.
Back in February, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a controversial amendment into law, termed the “slapping law” that decriminalizes certain forms of domestic violence. Specifically, the law makes “moderate” violence within families an administrative, rather than a criminal, offense. Attacks on spouses or children that cause bruising or bleeding but not broken bones are punishable by fifteen days in prison or a fine rather than the two year sentence previously in place, if they do not happen more than once a year. If the incidents occur more frequently, a defendant could face a fine and compulsory community service for up to six months, or be held under arrest for up to three months.
More than 85 percent of legislators in Russia’s Duma approved the bill, and most saw the amendment as a response to the conservative’s party push to uphold “traditional family values”. One of the major supporters was the Russian Orthodox Church, which relies on the “domostroi,” an ancient manual prescribing strict rules of behavior and requiring absolute submission to the head of the family.
“I don’t think that we should violate the rights of family and sometimes a man and a woman, wife and husband, have a conflict,” said a member of the Russian Duma Vitaly Milonov. “Sometimes in this conflict they use, I don’t know, a frying pan, uncooked spaghetti, and so on. Frankly speaking what we call home violence is not home violence — it’s sort of a new picture of family relations created by liberal media.” If this is the case, than the recent case may not have been taken as seriously as it was by law enforcement considering it happened in the kitchen of the home and a kitchen utensil was involved.
Domestic abuse kills one woman every 40 minutes in Russia, and the law has been widely criticized internationally. Human Rights Watch had encouraged parliament to reject the law to no avail, citing it as “dangerous and incompatible with Russia’s international human rights obligations.”
“Universally gender based crimes are under-reported but in Russia they are hugely under reported,” Yulia Gorbunova of Human Rights Watch said. “There is a stigma around talking about violence, physical violence at home and women do not feel that they can speak up. It is a very dangerous for the government to draw a line between ‘just bruises’ or serious physical violence because… the situation in Russia shows, that domestic violence very rarely ends with bruises. It usually almost always goes to the next step.”