After sustaining severe beatings from her partner, Asya telephoned the police, seeking help in Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital.
“They said, ‘Did he use a knife? Did he try to kill you?’ I would say, ‘No,’ and they would say, ‘Okay, you call me when he tries to kill you, because we have more important things to do,’” Asya said, recalling two incidents from 2012.
The episode is one of many documented in a report issued on October 29 by advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW), which is pressing for the government of Kyrgyzstan to take more action to address domestic violence.
At the heart of the problem is a combination of social indifference, a failure to enforce laws and a shortage of resources for the victims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. A 2012 government survey found that 28 percent of women or girls in Kyrgyzstan had experienced such abuse.
Legislation to protect vulnerable household members is ostensibly in place.
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Peter Leonard is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.