25.04.13, Lviv region
Since autumn 2012 Caritas of Sambir-Drohobych Diocese has been providing help to women who suffer from home violence. The work is done with the assistance of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund. The leading objective of such activity is grounded on social and physical security in combination with psychological and spiritual support for women.
Every Monday and Wednesday there is an opportunity to meet family psychologist and make a search for remedies in this dangerous situation. Each Thursday meeting on mutual aid is organized for women. Here women are taught that they are not guilty in aggressive behavior of their husbands and have right for protection and respectful life. Caritas employees together with victims of home violence work out safety plan for women and children, look among their relatives and friends to speak about violence and ask for help and intervention.
In the majority of cases the assistance of police and search for secure place for dwelling are required. Sometimes isolation from abuser is needed. Part of women strives for aid of doctors and psychologists with whom they can speak about experienced traumas.
“What makes our work more complicated? Lack of support from parents, notably, mothers and grandmothers. Very often birth mother doesn’t protect her daughter and doesn’t believe in violence or humiliates daughter, blames her in family problems. In fact, in most cases mothers were victims of violence from their fathers and husbands. They practice violence as standard of behavior.
Moreover, society stereotypes are distracting. For example, ‘what other people will say?’, ‘rubbish should be kept at home’, ‘it’s better to have a bad father than none’. These convictions lead to helplessness of women and absolute cruelty of abusers. Children who witness beating and humiliation of their mother suffer a lot. Some of them further experience anorexia, psychosis, alcohol and drug addiction” explains Natalia Golynska, Administrative Director of local Caritas.
Very often individuals who are obliged to provide help in case of violence don’t perform their duties. For instance, police workers don’t acknowledge a statement or deny the fact of violence. Sometimes it happens that teaching of Christ is distorted and misinterpreted in a way that God said to exercise patience – ‘one who is patient is saved’.
Caritas, loudly and purposefully, calls things by their proper names, changes stereotype on woman’s role and protect her. It is important to call the police, ambulance, talk to priest, family members, psychologist and friends. People who could render aid might be found among them! One saved woman means saved children and further generations who won’t be doomed to suffering and disrespectful behavior.
Workers of Caritas Drohobych say that the best thing in such social work is friendship – when person comes up in the world and starts to believe in sense of own life. Step by step he/she makes dreams come true, begins to sleep, eat and go outside without fear. When woman and children learn that they are beautiful and kind people, created for love, respect and peace. It is nice to see how experts from various organizations and spheres of professional activity gather to render free assistance to needful individuals.
Natalia Golynska says: “In the period of Lent we encourage everyone to protect lives of other individuals. Don’t stay indifferent when neighbors treat their wives and children badly. Everything done even for the smallest one is done for Jesus Christ. On behalf of all women who were victims of violence and their children I thank each person who put all efforts to save and support women in crisis.
I also cordially invite women who are in need of help and want to deal family difficulties for meeting on mutual aid. It is held each Thursday at 16:00 in our Caritas (Drohobych, 4 Chornovola Str.) or you can reach us by phone (+38 0244) 2 24 58. There is no situation without a way out!”