Counseling Against Family Violence
Website Safehouse – Belgrade is devoted to women who are at the risk of abuse in their homes. The Counseling Against Family Violence together with safe houses brings the fight out of the homes of vulnerable women and transfers it into a completely different dimension, one without tears, bruises….it transfers it onto a field of speech, words, advice, care…
The exposure of women to violence has deep roots in our society’s patriarchal structure. The violence occurs as part of the role as a breadwinner, master and protector from the man’s point of view. Related to that, the woman gets to passively tolerate and her destiny is one of a traditional woman. Violence is tacitly or sometimes even publicly approved in our environment. Vulnerability mostly lies in the woman’s effort not to take this role and to become financially and personally independent. Men sometimes consider this kind of behaviour to be an assault on their identity. The identity crisis gets compensated through the proof of power in the family. One of the forms of that power is – violence.
The changes in public life like wars, poverty and loss of employment have an influence on the relationship between people and favour the violence in the family and elsewhere. The 90s in Serbia – the war in the neighbourhood, poverty, incertitude and fear served the escalation of violence in the society, and also the escalation of domestic violence. Being aware of this situation we wanted to find the best way to help women – victims of violence.
Right from the start the Counseling Against Family Violence tries to support the needs of victims of violence to find their way out of that situation.
Above all, the victims of violence should be informed about our existence and work. Even though we had a clear goal, the fear of carrying out the project was always present. Questions arose – what should we say to a woman who calls, how long should we listen to her, should we interrupt her with questions, estimate the colour and the tone of the voice, how to show empathy and sincere readiness to listen and to help? That was all important for the woman to realise that she should make a decision and find a solution to her problem. We had to be careful not to give suggestions or ready advice. The goal was that alone a phone conversation can enforce a woman and assure her that she can take the first steps for getting out of trouble.