“Many women endure violence in silence and do not seek help because they are afraid of condemnation, accusations, misunderstanding even from close relatives. Please don’t be patient! Search for the help!” – Zukhra, a survivor of domestic violence.
In the context of the international campaign “16 Days Against Gender Violence,” we share a story of a participant in the program “Advocating vulnerable groups’ rights through a stronger civil society in Uzbekistan”. It is implemented by AFEW International in partnership with ISHONCH VA HAYOT and is financially supported by the European Union Delegation to Uzbekistan.
Zukhra, a 41-year-old woman from Jizzakh, Uzbekistan.
Years of silence and solitude
The shadows of violence descended upon my life immediately after the wedding. Our union was forced by our parents. My husband, from the outset, subjected me to intimidation, threats, and control. He confiscated my hard-earned money, physically abused me for trivial reasons, and isolated me from loved ones. After some time I found out, that my husband maintained a double life with another woman and children. Attempts to seek divorce were futile, as he relied on my financial support.
For many years I was addicted and had nowhere to go. Unfortunately, not all relatives or loved ones were able to support me. My parents always believed that it was my fault that I provoked the violence. At such moments, I hated myself and, over time, I began to believe that I was to blame, that I was an ungrateful woman. I became withdrawn and I started to abuse my children. I was left alone with the problem face to face. All attempts to contact the mahalla ended with them giving us time for a truce.
On the way to a new life
One day, my life took a hopeful turn when an activist provided me with the contact information for the organization “ISTIQLOL AVLODI“. At the organization, I received invaluable legal advice, and a prevention inspector documented the physical evidence of my abuse. With their support, I obtained a protection order against my husband, who was sternly warned about the legal consequences of continuing the violence. The organization’s psychologist played a crucial role in helping me understand that I was not to blame for the abuse I endured.
Educated by the center’s police officers and lawyers, I learned about the protective laws that made my husband’s actions criminal offenses. Liberated from fear, I gained confidence and strength to stand on equal ground with others.
Don’t be patient!
My message is clear: don’t be patient, contact such organizations, and do not remain silent! Now I know for sure that I can get out of violence, recover, help myself and my children. This became possible for me because I contacted the NGO “ISTIQLOL AVLODI” and felt their support. Unfortunately, many women remain silent and do not seek help because they are afraid of condemnation, accusations, misunderstanding even from close relatives, and they continue to endure violence. Please, contact the specialists! Don’t let your children look at violence and make it their norm in the future!
AFEW International, in partnership with ISHONCH VA HAYOT (IvH), and with financial support from the European Union, is implementing the programme “Advocating vulnerable groups’ rights through a stronger civil society in Uzbekistan”. The programme is dedicated to empowering underserved groups in Uzbekistan, such as people vulnerable to discrimination – women, people with disabilities, people living with or at high risk of HIV and migrants, and to protecting their rights and freedoms through strengthening and building local CSOs’ own organisations and capacities, thereby strengthening civil society in Uzbekistan.
PS. THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN PRODUCED WITH THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. THE CONTENTS OF THIS DOCUMENT ARE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF ISHONCH VA HAYOT AND AFEW INTERNATIONAL AND CAN UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES BE REGARDED AS REFLECTING THE POSITION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION.