Be "Proud" Of Your Bruises, Russian Newspaper Tells Domestic Abuse Survivors

Artwork by Anna Jay
Domestic violence has been at the top of the news agenda in Russia in recent weeks, after President Vladimir Putin approved a controversial legal amendment that decriminalised domestic violence in the country.

Domestic abuse has long been a particularly serious problem in Russia, with 14,000 women dying at the hands of their husbands or partners each year – 40 women every single day – and 40% of all violent crimes being committed within the family.

Part of the problem is its normalisation and the culture of silence and complicity that accompanies the practice. “If he beats you, it means he loves you," is a common saying, which has come into prominence in recent days thanks to one of the country's most popular newspapers.

According to an article published in Komsomolskaya Pravd, a daily tabloid, survivors of domestic abuse should be "proud of their bruises". The column has sparked worldwide anger and disbelief.

"For years, women who have been smacked around by their husbands have found solace in the rather hypocritical proverb, ‘If he beats you, it means he loves you!’," wrote Yaroslav Korobatov, a columnist for the paper.

“However, a new scientific study is giving women with irascible husbands new grounds to be proud of their bruises, insofar as women who are beaten, biologists confirm, have a valuable advantage: they’re more likely to give birth to boys!”

The study Korobatov was referring to was conducted by the controversial evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa, The Independent reported. Kanazawa published an article in 2005 titled ‘Violent men have more sons’, and another in 2008 with the title ‘Why do some battered women stay?’ in which he claimed women “may have been selected to tolerate a certain level of nonlethal violence in their mates”.

In the past, Kanazawa has also said that black women are “objectively less attractive” and that poverty in African countries is caused by “low IQs”.

Putin's decision to approve the decriminalisation of domestic violence has caused outrage from feminist groups in Russia and around the world.

The legal change means that beatings of spouses or children will be recategorised as an administrative offence instead of a criminal offence, unless it occurs multiple times a year.

Beatings that result in bruising or bleeding but not broken bones will be punishable by 15 days in prison or a fine, if they don't occur multiple times a year, whereas previously they carried a jail sentence of up to two years, The Guardian reported.

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