Funding Awareness Campaigns
Whereas Russian sexual assault activists struggled to raise awareness with little funding, three donors stepped in to support three sizable domestic violence campaigns that would not have been possible without their support. In 1997, with a grant from the Ford Foundation, crisis centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg coordinated the first attempt to raise consciousness of the problem of domestic violence, utilizing the new terminology, among wide sectors of the popula- tion.16 Modeled on a San Francisco—based Family Violence Prevention Fund’s (FVPF) campaign, the Russian campaign included the distribution of posters, stickers, brochures, safety cards, radio spots, and television public-service announcements, employing the “There’s No Excuse for Domestic Violence” slogan on black and blue backgrounds7 Using gender-specific language and images, the campaign linked domestic violence to women’s human rights. And as evidenced by a higher number of calls to the crisis centers following the radio and TV an-
nouncements, the campaign brought attention to the issue of domestic violence and the work of the crisis centers.
A second national campaign was conducted from 1999 to 2001 by transnational information access-promoter Internews, in consultation with the women’s crisis centers.18 With a quarter million dollars from USAID, the campaign included the broadcast of radio jingles in seventy cities and eight reports on already existing popular radio programs, inclusion on ten national and fourteen regional television programs, and the production and distribution of two documentary films and five public service announcements. In response to the growing attention, some of the most popular TV programs even requested information from Internews about domestic violence^9 As with the first campaign, the purpose of the campaign was to inform the population of the existence of domestic violence and to combat what the activists saw as the Russian myths: that domestic violence is a private problem, that women are solely responsible for family tranquility, and that women provoke domestic violence. Illustrating the expansion of activism, the regional crisis centers were the ones negotiating with the local TV and radio stations. For example, the Barnaul Women’s Alliance produced a TV series that offered new, more peaceful models for family relations and a two-part tribunal on domestic violence to hold the local administration accountable for addressing domestic violence.
A third, regional campaign was coordinated at the turn of the millennium by the Nordic Network for Crisis Centres for Women in the Barents Region (NCRB), also “to increase awareness of violence against women” (Saarinen, Liapounova, and Drachova 2003b, 7). During the 16 Days of Activism in 2000, twelve northwest Russian crisis centers distributed information on violence against women and the crisis center activities through bulletins, articles, and interviews in the local media, presented their research, organized roundtables with local and regional authorities, gave public lectures at various educational institutions, and exhibited literature, art, posters, photos, and video materials (35). Being in the Network gave the Russian crisis centers increased funding for these campaigns as well as access to new ideas employed by the Nordic crisis centers. In contrast to the earlier campaigns, these campaigns were broader in scope, explicitly including violence against children.
These three public awareness campaigns were then reinforced by other foreign-funded programs. Late 1990s initiatives from the U. S. State Department, for example, included Sister Cities International, of which several city-partnerships focused on domestic violence.20 They also included training for healthcare providers treating and counseling women victims of domestic violence through the American International Health Alliance.