Monitoring Women’s Rights, Feminist Entrepreneurs,. and New Cooperation
From the mid 1990s, those human rights advocates concerned with violence against women have spotlighted the behavior of Russian law enforcement personnel. Human Rights Watch reports in 1995 and 1997, the first such reports, covered the law enforcement failures regarding domestic violence almost as much as they condemned law enforcement response to sexual violence. Police behavior is a central issue for the several high-profile human rights campaigns that have followed. The Moscow Helsinki group, with support from the United Kingdom, found domestic violence to be a “very serious problem” to which police refuse to respond (Luk- shevskii 2003). The World Organization against Torture condemned the Russian police claim that domestic violence is decreasing—a claim based on their receiving fewer complaints (Benninger-Budel and O’Hanlon 2004, 308). Of these new human rights campaigns, the most weighty—from the organization with the most international pull—was the Amnesty International campaign initiated in 2003, which resulted in an extensive and well-documented report, published in both Russian and English (Amnesty International 2005).
Also, as for sexual assault, this monitoring by human rights advocates from above was matched by feminist entrepreneurs, such as Dianne Post from the ABA-CEELI gender program, working from below. Post was focused even more on domestic violence than on sexual assault as she crisscrossed Russia holding seminars, conferences, and trainings from 1998 to 2000.60 Building upon global feminist claims about women’s human rights, her most common programs were what she called “Domestic Violence 101,” a multidisciplinary conference for social workers, psychologists, educators, and local crisis centers, or training sessions for non-lawyers to be advocates for domestic violence victims.61 In other cases, she trained judges and lawyers, teaching them how to advise others or initiate suits (Post 2001). She also wanted to support local women’s crisis centers, by including them in the events.
Both these interventions certified a new kind of public space in which activists could meet with state workers from both social services and law enforcement in order to do more of their own training. Bolstered by some foreign funding and the crisis center movement’s new willingness to talk the language of “violence in the family,” this new space led ANNA to work with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, conducting joint research, training social workers together, and developing a government crisis center in southern Moscow62 By 2004, the successor ministry—the Ministry of Health and Social Development—was coordinating with the RACCW, for example, holding a 2004 conference on the role of crisis centers in working with social services to prevent violence in the family.63 ANNA, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has also conducted trainings for the police training programs (T. V. Veligurova in Rimasheevskaia 2005).