I finally interviewed Byubyusara Ryskulova, a woman activist providing direct services to through the only shelter for survivors of domestic violence in Bishkek. I very much trust her opinions because she knows of thousands of cases. The full text of the interview can be found on Transitions Online website.
Some quotes from the interview for now.
‘In Koran it says that heaven is where a woman puts her foot, we even made a documentary about this notion.but in reality it is very different. I would want to very much appeal to Islamic religious leaders so that they would promote nice suuras [versus] from Koran and not things like polygamy. I am not mentioning other things. And when women [who live in polygamous relationships] suffer from violence… not so long ago they [Parliament] almost managed to remove the 157 article [about prohibition of polygamy]. In reality polygamy is around us. So they [MPs] said that if the law does not work, it should be removed. But we think that the law could at least help to strain.’Women in polygamous relationships turn to ‘Sezim’, being first, second, third wives. Byubyusara was hoping to set a precedent to use the prohibition article but the women are too economically dependant on their husbands and decided not to initiate court cases.
On lack of funding for domestic violence services
‘The businesses give money to culture and sports events. This is nice, I don’t reject this. But our issue is delicate because the men are in power and women are usually suffering from violence while most resources are in men’s hands. So we cannot say that tomorrow immediately they will understand our problems but there are people who do understand.’