The Unseen Experience of Physical and Sexual Violence in Central Europe

Grassroots Support Initiatives in the Absence of Political Action

17 May 2021

How many women in Poland and Central Europe will experience violence, whether of a physical, emotional, financial or sexual nature, before their problem is noticed and will be taken seriously by the state and European institutions?

Białystok, a late evening in March. The first lockdown is about to begin in Poland. Marta is sitting at home and browsing Facebook a bit mechanically. Her attention is drawn to a message from a friend on a Facebook group. “Who is in Białystok and could help a certain girl with transport? She needs transportation from one end of town to the other. Now! PS: There should be a child seat in the car.”

“Why not?”, Marta thinks and reports. She arrives at the place. In the parking lot, there is a lonely frightened woman with a small child and a single bag in which the most necessary items are packed. Marta unknowingly came to an intervention organised at the grassroots level by social assistance workers and groups.

The woman is running away from her aggressive ‘partner’. This time he was beating her with an iron cable. Marta takes her to a single mothers’ house. This is the only address she can go to. What is going on with her later on? Marta does not know.

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Dominika Rafalska

Doctor of Humanities, a graduate of oenology at the Jagiellonian University, journalist, editor and researcher of modern history. Secretary of the Editorial Board of Res Publica Nowa.

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