Come When They Kill: Why Domestic Violence Victims Take Up Arms

A life 2023

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Come When They Kill: Why Domestic Violence Victims Take Up Arms
Come When They Kill: Why Domestic Violence Victims Take Up Arms
Video: Come When They Kill: Why Domestic Violence Victims Take Up Arms
Video: Why domestic violence victims don't leave | Leslie Morgan Steiner 2023, February

Last week, the Basmanny Court of Moscow extended for a month the Khachaturian sisters a preventive measure in the form of a ban on certain actions. Krestina, Angelina and Maria were arrested on August 2, they are accused of the murder of their father under Article 105 (paragraph "g"), that is, committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy. This is one of the harshest articles of the Criminal Code - girls face imprisonment for a term of 8 to 20 years (life imprisonment for women in Russia is not prescribed). The defense insists that the sisters acted in necessary self-defense in response to the violence. After the case got into the news reports, terrible details were revealed: the girls had been physically and sexually abused for years by their father - this information was later confirmed by the investigation.

The story of the Khachaturian sisters is perhaps the loudest case of domestic violence in Russia - but far from the only one. According to human rights activists, about 80% of women convicted under Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (murder) committed it as a result of self-defense, fleeing violence from their roommates. We decided to figure out how the Russian justice system reacts to domestic violence - and why women most often have no choice but to defend themselves.

Text: Alexandra Savina, Anya Sakharova, Margarita Virova

Illustrations: Ksenia Itwazcool


Do you know how bears are killed?

Julia (all names were changed at the request of the heroine) was with Oleg for five years. “The first year I got pregnant,” she says. - When it was still possible to have an abortion, it was the ideal. He washed the dishes at home and did everything in general. And when it was no longer possible to have an abortion, he changed. Someone came to visit - Oleg is polite, friendly. A man just walks out the door - and he immediately: "You are a brute, you are scum, you are a creature." He called me that all the time. I didn’t hit, but one day I swung a wrench. And once again he hit the floor with a spoon, breaking the laminate. " According to the woman, her daughter from her first marriage also constantly got from Oleg.

They lived in Yulia's apartment, but Oleg often disappeared: he lived with her for a month, when they quarreled, he went to his mother, and a week later he returned under the pretext that they had a common child. In the spring, after another quarrel, he packed his things while Yulia was working, called her in the evening and said that he was leaving. Six months later, Yulia received a call from the AIDS center and said that she had contact with an HIV-positive person. “I didn't understand with whom and from where. Thought it was a joke. And two days later, Oleg called and began to threaten that he would kill me if my test also turned out to be positive. He thought it was me who infected him,”Yulia recalls. - I passed the analysis so that he lagged behind me - the result was negative.

Six months later, in May, Oleg invited Julia to get back together. At his insistence, they met several times to talk - Julia said that she no longer wanted to be together, and asked her not to come to her. In June, Oleg took their common son to his place for the night. When they were driving through the city, the child pointed to the house: “Mom lives here now, at Sasha's! (Yulia's current lover. - Ed. note) "Later, Oleg found Yulia's car near this house, drove up to her at night and began to kick. Julia went to him: “Oleg promised to crash my car, and then he threatened with a knife and tore my T-shirt with his hands. I got into my car, wanted to start it and leave. He jumped up, grabbed the keys from the ignition and hit me in the face. Imagine masculine strength. Oleg was engaged in wrestling and served in the army. Then he kept me in his car for two hours - he broke my phone, hit me in the face several more times, tugged at my hair. Then he calmed down somehow."

At seven in the morning, Yulia took her son from Oleg's house and went to take pictures of the beatings, while her mother went to the police to write a statement.The district police officer said that Yulia would be summoned to court, but soon she received a refusal to initiate a criminal case. A week later, Oleg continued to write to her again - he threatened to draw his blood into a syringe and “infect HIV”. He pursued the woman: “He wrote that he was looking around the city, what he would hit in a car, find at work or on the way. At eight in the morning he came to my office - and I didn't go there on purpose. In the afternoon, my mother called the police - the application was accepted, but they did not react."

I got into my car, wanted to start it and leave. He jumped up, grabbed the keys from the ignition and hit me in the face.


Oleg continued to pursue Yulia, insisting on a meeting. In the end, she agreed to meet in a crowded place - at the bus stop. Oleg noticed the car keys hanging on Julia's jeans, and, just like the last time, snatched them out. He offered to drive to the bank so as not to swear at the bus stop: “Oleg said that he had no evil intentions, that he would not do anything to me. I believed - I lived with him for more than one year, and we have a common child,”says Yulia.

Julia got into the car, but they drove past the bank - Oleg said that he was taking the woman to her mother. When Julia realized that the car was leaving the city, she tried to open the door and jump out of the car on the move. But Oleg blocked the doors, grabbed Yulia by the shirt in the chest area and shouted: “You won't go anywhere! We'll come right now! " turned into the forest. Having stopped the car so that the pine tree blocked the door from Yulia's side and she could not escape, Oleg said: “Well, let's talk. If you don't want it good, it will be bad."

Oleg demanded that Yulia give her a new smartphone, took out a hunting knife from the glove compartment and began to pick out the battery in the phone so that geolocation would not work. “Then Oleg sat and, like a storyteller, calmly said: 'There are two ways - either I will kill you, or I will infect you. Take your pick. Do you know how bears are killed? The throat is cut. Here I will cut your throat, unscrew your head, the whole car will be covered in blood. Do you see the pits behind? I dug them for an hour and a half for you. I will throw you into a hole, bury you, go home and sleep. The police will come - I will not hide, I will show them the place where I buried you. I love you very much ", - Yulia recalls his words.

She could not run and resist: “The door is blocked, I am a woman and I cannot cope with it, I have no knife. Yes, and I would not cut him - I know the consequences. I would have stabbed him, they would have put me in prison, even for a year or two. And I have children. " A few minutes later, Oleg raped Yulia, repeating that now they are equal.

We will describe the corpse, do not worry

“There is not a single law in Russia aimed at preventing domestic violence (special laws were adopted in 144 countries. - Approx. ed.). There are criminal and administrative codes, but they, as a rule, work with consequences - that is, when violence has already happened, - says the lawyer of Angelina Khachaturian Alexei Parshin. - There is no definition of domestic violence, its types, descriptions of who are the subjects and objects. This allows the state to declare that we do not have domestic violence, although this is not the case."

Parshin and lawyer Mari Davtyan prepared a draft of such a law and introduced prevention tools into it. In Russia, according to the lawyer, there are no protection orders, no registration, no preventive talks, no deprivation of the right to own a weapon. “We do not have measures to influence the domestic offender - the ability to force him to take, for example, anger management courses,” continues Parshin. "In Russia, there is no assistance whatsoever for victims of domestic violence, either legal or psychological."

“The law on domestic violence presupposes appropriate institutions - shelters, shelters,” supports her colleague Elena Solovyova, a lawyer for the protection of women and families in crisis situations. - Expedited system of consideration of women's applications. Connection of guardianship authorities and social services. Forced psychological rehabilitation of the aggressor. Psychological services that work with both the aggressor and the victims.If we had such a law, the police could not help but react."

Two years ago, a law was passed decriminalizing beatings, and since then a significant part of situations of domestic violence has moved into the field of administrative law. For beatings inflicted for the first time and did not entail a serious threat to the victim's health, they face a fine of 5 to 30 thousand rubles, arrest for up to 15 days, or compulsory work for a period of 60 to 120 hours. In practice, this implies that after fifteen days the aggressor can return to the house shared with the victim - or limit himself to a fine, which is often paid from the family budget.

We do not have a definition of domestic violence, its types, descriptions of who are the subjects and objects. This allows the state to declare that we do not have domestic violence, although this is not the case.


Elena Solovyova recalls a case from practice. The son-in-law constantly beat his own mother-in-law - the wife also could not resist him. “He just killed his pensioner mother-in-law, dragged her by the hair along the staircase - thanks for the neighbors intervening,” Solovyova says. - She submitted an application to the district police officer - and the total number of her applications exceeded the second dozen. And what did the district police officer say? “I won't let you out of the office until you hug! Make peace, go home and live in harmony. " It was with great difficulty that the man was evicted from the apartment. It was possible to initiate a case only through the leadership of the Internal Affairs Directorate - not criminal, but administrative: “There was a specific threat of murder: he stepped on her throat, strangled her - and a case was opened about simple beatings. And this is also, one might say, a mini-victory - after all, in principle, something was stirred up”.

Women survivors of violence in most cases face complete misunderstanding and indifference from the police. They are often asked to withdraw their applications under the pretext that they "might change their minds." This was the case, for example, with Julia. “The day after the incident, one of the two investigators came to me and said: 'Do you understand that this is your ex-husband? Now you are talking, and then change your mind. And in general, was it true? " - she recalls the days after the rape in the forest.

One of the loudest and most tragic examples of how this can end is the story of Margarita Gracheva. At the end of 2017, her ex-husband took her to the forest, where he tortured and cut off her hands for an hour and a half, after which he took her to the hospital. Before that, he had already once taken a woman into the forest and threatened her with a knife - then Margarita wrote a statement to the district police officer, but he called her back only twenty-one days later and did nothing. After the second attack, Grachev was sentenced to fourteen years in a strict regime colony. At the same time, Margarita's defenders still had to fight in court: for example, Dmitry Grachev was deprived of parental rights (minor children are a mitigating circumstance in court) only on the fifth attempt.

In November 2016, Yana Savchuk, a resident of Orel, also called the police several times due to a conflict with her former partner Andrei Bochkov: she explained that he was beating her, but the man was not detained. Two weeks later, Yana called the police again: she wanted to pick up things from the apartment, but she met Bochkov at the house. The police saw the conflict: the man was shouting at Yana and cursing - but did not try to protect the woman, because they wanted to leave as soon as possible. Already leaving, to the words of Yana that she was threatened with murder, the district police officer replied: "If you are killed, we will definitely leave, we will describe the corpse, do not worry." Just a few minutes after the police officers left, Bochkov beat her, and the woman died from her injury. Bochkov was sentenced to thirteen years in a strict regime colony and ordered to pay the father of the deceased 925 thousand rubles in compensation. And the other day the prosecutor demanded to sentence the precinct to four years in prison. But all this does not in any way negate the simple fact - the police did not protect the woman when she asked for help.

Why didn't I run away

Yana Gurcheva lived with her common-law husband Vasily Yurchik for about six years. During this time, they had two daughters - Dasha and Stephanida, at the time of what happened they were four years old and a year old. According to Yana, Yurchik's character was “difficult”. He did not immediately begin to use physical force in conflicts, but over time it began to happen more and more often. Several times Yana tried to call the police - no one came to the calls. “In our country, the police are usually in no hurry to come to family squabbles. It is believed that the husband and wife, as a rule, reconcile, or something else happens. Therefore, they did not come. They wrote down the address - that's all. This ended the conversation. And I had to sit and wait. It is not clear what to expect,”says Yana.

Conflicts were repeated. The woman began to think about parting with her husband and talked to him about it. Yana could not just leave the apartment that she and Vasily shared - it was her living space. Attempts to expel her husband also did not end with anything - he constantly returned. “I both good and bad, and kicked out, and what I did not do - everything is useless,” she recalls. Yurchik abused alcohol and, according to Yana, did not participate in the upbringing of children.

One evening Vasily returned home drunk. He went to bed, and when he woke up, he began to quarrel with his wife because she cooked dinner for herself, and not for him. The fight began in a tiny kitchen, Yurchik pounced on the woman and began to strangle her. She twisted, grabbed the first object that came under her arm and hit the man in the collarbone region. A knife was at hand, which pierced the lung and heart.

At first, Yana did not understand what happened - on her husband's body, where she stabbed with a knife, there was only a small wound, there was not too much blood. The man went into the room, as it seemed to Yana, "absolutely consciously." First, the woman washed the kitchen floor and the knife, fearing that the children who were playing right there would see blood. After a while, recovering from the shock, she tried to provide first aid to Vasily: as best she could, she stopped the blood until the ambulance arrived. The ambulance arrived late, the man was already dead.

The fight began in a tiny kitchen: Yurchik pounced on the woman and began to strangle her. She twisted, grabbed the first object that came under her arm and hit the man in the collarbone region. There was a knife at hand that pierced the lung and heart

The ambulance was followed by the police and an operational investigation team. Yana managed to call her mother to ask her to take the children - and said that she had “killed Vasya”. She explained to one of the police officers who arrived before the arrival of the task force that she had committed the murder in defense. The woman could no longer read the protocol and understand the details - according to her, she was in a state of shock and signed the papers without looking. During interrogation, no one began to find out the circumstances under which the tragedy occurred. In the decree she signed, Yana's act turned out to be a deliberate act, and they began to judge her for real murder.

Gurcheva was sentenced to six years in prison, although the defense insisted that her actions were not murder, but necessary self-defense. But three months later, the judicial board of the Moscow City Court overturned the verdict and released Gurcheva. The collegium decided that, in accordance with the first part of article 37 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Necessary Defense", Yana had the right to defend herself by any means available to her: Yurchik was aggressive and attacked a woman in the presence of children. The court considered it important that the woman stabbed Yurchik with a knife only once, and took into account the testimony of Dasha's daughter: the girl remembered that her dad strangled her mother, after which she stabbed him.

The Yana Gurcheva case is one of several stories with a “happy” ending. A similar result was perhaps that of the case of Galina Katorova - a woman quarreled with her husband Maxim, and he tried to strangle her with a rope. Defending herself, Galina stabbed her husband with a knife eleven times - one of the blows was fatal.The woman was accused of premeditated murder, but then the defense managed to re-qualify the charge and get the sentence revoked.

“Due to the circumstances, this is a fairly common thing. It is outstanding only because the court heard us and acquitted Galina, recognized her right to self-defense,”says Elena Solovyova, who defended Katorova in court. She believes that the success of the case was primarily due to legal protection and public reaction: a group of activists and human rights defenders joined in and created the petition. “Plus we had an expert psychologist who was able to explain to the court why the victim could not escape,” explains Solovyova. - After all, the main delusion of the courts lies in the message “Why the victim didn’t run away, why did she think that the use of a weapon is the only way out” (victims of violence often have nowhere to go, moreover, in a situation of bullying, they stop believing in themselves. - Approx. ed.) ".

According to Solovyova, the regional court, which acted as an appellate instance in the Katorova case, indicated in the acquittal that the victim was not obliged to run and hide anywhere. And this is an amazing result - the court, the lawyer recalls, spoke out against victim blaming, pointing out that self-defense, albeit an exceptional measure, is socially acceptable.


"Convenient" criminal

“Such 'criminals' are convenient for law enforcement agencies because they do not run away, do not cover up the traces of a crime. They call the police, tell how it happened. There is practically no need to prove anything - everything is ready, - explains Galina Ibryanova, lawyer of the St. Petersburg Bar Association. - It's not like other crimes, when a suspect is trying to hide something, invent a legend, create an alibi for himself. The woman believes that everyone will believe her - after all, it was a necessary measure to protect herself. " In practice, the cases of Yana Gurchik and Galina Katorova remain unique exceptions. Only a few manage to achieve the qualification of the case under the article "Necessary self-defense".

In 2018, a resident of the Sonkovsky District Court of the Tver Region was sentenced under Article 108 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Murder committed when the limits of necessary defense were exceeded”). According to a press release from the court, the woman's husband inflicted at least 48 blows with his feet and hands on the head, torso and limbs and at least 3 blows with a knife handle in the face and head. The woman intercepted his hand with a knife and “carrying out actions that clearly did not correspond to the nature and danger of encroachment on the part of her husband, since it was not associated with life-threatening violence, deliberately, with the aim of murder, inflicted the victim at least two body area - chest. " The woman was sentenced to one year in prison.

Now in Gelendzhik, Kristina Shidukova is being tried for the murder of Akhmed's husband. It is known that he repeatedly beat his wife, including when she was pregnant. This happened in August 2018: her husband severely beat Christina, she tried to run away, but he caught up with her and dragged her back into the apartment. Then he tried to throw her out of the window from the fourth floor - after which Christina grabbed a knife and stabbed him. The woman was detained immediately after the incident - now she is under house arrest.

In 97% of murders related to domestic violence, according to a study by the Mediazona team, a knife, most often a kitchen knife, is mentioned as the murder weapon; often we are talking about one blow to the chest. A pretty clear picture is emerging: a woman, trying to save her own life, grabs the first object that comes to hand. Nevertheless, the court, as a rule, sees this not as self-defense, but as murder.

“Self-defense, as it were, implies that the forces of the victim and the offender are approximately equal,” says Galina Ibryanova. - But in situations of domestic violence, when it comes to a man and a woman, this is usually not the case. A woman grabs onto a heavy object or weapon, such as a knife, to protect her life.And the court most often puts pressure on the fact that the man had no weapon in his hands, he strangled her with his bare hands or threatened her - it turns out that they are evaluated as equal opponents. So every time there is at least an excess of self-defense: she grabs a frying pan or a knife, and the fact that he could kill her with his bare hands is not taken into account."

Such "criminals" are convenient for law enforcement agencies because they do not run away, do not cover up the traces of a crime. They call the police, tell how it was


Bridging the border between self-defense and murder is generally very easy in the eyes of Russian law enforcement officers. A woman, not understanding the legal intricacies, in a state of shock, can give testimony that will play against her. “Without a lawyer, it is better not to communicate with the investigating authorities: in the first hours there can be a lot of manipulations on their part. Often they persuade a woman to confess: they say, it's stupid to deny that she killed. But in a legal sense, there is a huge difference between the words “killed” and “caused death”. In the first case, this implies motive, intent and a prison term of six to fifteen years,”explains lawyer, head of the Center for the Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence at the“Consortium of Women's NGOs”Mari Davtyan.

“There are a lot of methods of pressure,” Elena Solovyova clarifies. - For example, detention. Kristina Shidukova with house arrest, one might say, was lucky. Imagine what separation from a child is. The woman is detained at the scene of the crime and promised that if she signs a confession, she will be allowed to go home. And this, of course, is not true - as soon as she confesses to committing a serious crime, there are grounds for taking her into custody. But in order to stay with their children, women most often agree."

“Very often psychological trauma does not allow the victims to recall what happened to them,” continues Galina Ibryanova. - We start working, submit a statement to the police, speak in court, and then the woman remembers that there was something else, nuances, details. The court and investigators perceive this as contradictory testimony: why did she say this only now? So she came up with it. The property of the human psyche to block unpleasant memories is not taken into account."

Often, women are also victims of incompetent protection. Oksana Demidenko has lived with her husband for over twenty years. In December last year, I returned home from work, her husband Vladimir had a day off, which he spent at home; the eldest son had not lived with them for several years, and the youngest, Grigory, went for a walk. The woman saw that her husband was drinking moonshine, and began to scold him - in response, he began to swear and scold his wife. Usually in such situations, the woman went to her mother, but this time she was sick, so Oksana stayed at home. She called her son to come home, and when he arrived, she offered to go to bed as soon as possible. Both lay down on a bunk bed and pretended to fall asleep - but after a while Vladimir entered the room and began to bother his son. To distract him, Oksana went to another room. There she took a three-liter bottle of wine and began to pour it from the balcony - she knew that her husband liked to "catch up" with them after strong alcohol. Seeing this, the man became furious and began to twist her arms. The woman ran to the kitchen, Vladimir ran after her and hit her hard several times. Oksana closed her eyes and tried to brush it off - and when she opened her eyes, she saw that Vladimir was lying on the floor, bleeding. The woman herself called an ambulance.

The woman is detained at the scene of the crime and promised that if she signs a confession, she will be allowed to go home. And this, of course, is not true - as soon as she confesses to committing a serious crime, there are grounds for taking her into custody.

Oksana Demidenko turned to the office, the sign of which she saw on the way from the morgue.The lawyer suggested that her underage son take the blame, promising that he will receive a maximum suspended sentence. The boy was sent to a pre-trial detention center, where he spent twenty days until the court of appeal overturned the arrest warrant. According to Oksana, the lawyer many times persuaded her to give bribes to various authorities - after the last attempt, she broke off relations with him. In the spring, a woman brought a confession to the police.

Yulia, a rape survivor, faced similar problems. A familiar lawyer offered to defend her in court for little money. Julia agreed, but the lawyer came only to the first court session, and after that she did not appear. She promised to pursue the case and appeal, but when the court passed the verdict, she stopped picking up the phone and answering messages. Julia had no money for a new lawyer.

Alexey Parshin explains that the accusatory bias of law enforcement has been preserved since Soviet times: “It is often easier for investigators to accuse than to dismiss a case. Then there will be fewer questions to them. Again, good statistics, career growth, bonus. The judge often shields investigators and turns a blind eye to procedural errors and violations. As a result, the percentage of acquittals is very low. A judge can also be asked for an acquittal - for a judge this is an emergency."

“I have twenty years of experience in the legal profession. I observe situations when my mother turned to me even when her child was young - and now her son has grown up, entered into a relationship and became an aggressor himself. The son saw how his mother was beaten - and now his wife is asking for help, - says Elena Solovyova. - When I started working on domestic violence cases, I thought that I would defend the victims - and now I work on the side of the accused. I could not even have imagined such a direction of legal assistance - protection of victims of domestic violence in the status of accused”.

Extenuating circumstances


It is even more difficult to prove that a woman's act was the result of violence when she does not act at the very moment of the attack - as, for example, the Khachaturian sisters. But their lawyers insist on self-defense, referring to the ruling of the plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, which introduces the concept of “continuing encroachment” into the interpretation of Article 37 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The victim of such a crime (for example, torture), as the defense of the sisters explains, gets the right to defend himself at any moment when opportunities and strength arise - as in a situation with hostage-taking or torture.

“Facts of violence have been established against the sisters, and the violence was not isolated. It was systematic, regular, lasted for several years - therefore, there is every reason to believe that it would have continued further, - says the lawyer of Angelina Khachaturian Alexei Parshin. - If actions are aimed at preventing violence, this is the necessary self-defense. Even if no one attacked them at that moment, it was still obvious to them that the violence, which, in their opinion, threatened their lives, would inevitably continue. The Supreme Court says that a person can be in a state of necessary defense if torture is underway. Torment implies repetition, stretching in time. " However, lawyers admit that the norm on the necessary self-defense during torture has never been applied in Russia. “I think if this happens, there will be a precedent,” recalls Mari Davtyan.

But even if the defense does not set itself the revolutionary task of closing the case, having proved the necessary self-defense, it is also not easy to re-qualify the article for a less serious one - murder committed in a state of passion. In criminal law, affect is described as "a state of sudden strong emotional excitement." Simplifying and speaking in everyday language, this is a violent and rapid emotional reaction to an external stimulus (it is believed that in a state of passion a person remains “sane” - that is, in theory, he can “pull himself together”).

The psychological and psychiatric examination, which is prescribed in such cases, recreates the signs of affect based on the case materials: for example, it determines that the person's condition arose suddenly and did not last long, the person acted erratically, he trembled, turned pale or flushed, his pupils dilated or his voice changed. In theory, there is the concept of cumulative affect, when stress builds up due to a difficult emotional state and ends with an affective outburst. An "explosion" can provoke even a minor impact, which will be the "last straw". This condition occurs in people "inclined to express aggression in a socially acceptable form."

According to a study by Mediazona, “affect” was present in 62% of cases of domestic violence that were reviewed by the publication's team, but women were tried without taking into account extenuating circumstances. Cumulative affect in situations of self-defense in domestic violence is also not always accepted: a woman faced with the actions of an aggressor may be told that “violence was systemic for her” and she had to get used to it. Elena Solovyova recalls that in the case of Kristina Shidukova, two psychological examinations were carried out. The first, on the initiative of the defender, established the affect and the fact that the woman was in a systematic stressful situation. In response, the investigation appointed its own expertise - and that affect has already been denied.

“A narrow, formal approach is being used,” says Galina Ibryanova. -It is believed that in a state of passion, everything should happen suddenly, and if a woman, for example, ran into the kitchen and grabbed a rolling pin, the situation is already perceived differently. I think it is high time to change approaches and standards, to study the state of a person who has been in a state of violence for a long time."

Special condition

It was with this condition in mind that several European trials passed verdicts in favor of women who were subjected to systematic violence. Frenchmen Jacqueline Savage and Norbert Marot got married very early - and have been married for 47 years. According to Jacqueline, she suffered from domestic violence for many years. According to the children, they suffered from violence and they: all three daughters of the couple stated in court that they were physically and sexually abused by Maro and that he beat their brother.

On a September evening in 2012, Norbert woke up Jacqueline with a punch and demanded that she cook dinner for him. Savage got up, took a gun out of the closet, came to the terrace, where her husband was drinking whiskey, and shot him three times in the back. She was found guilty of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison. The situation was not regarded as self-defense: according to the law of the country, it implies an immediate reaction to an attack, while the woman herself resorted to violent actions.

At the same time, it became clear from the evidence in this case that the murder could have been avoided if law enforcement agencies and indirect witnesses of the violence had reacted in time. Jacqueline Savage tried to commit suicide in the past - but the doctor who dealt with her did not ask about the reasons for this act. One of her daughters went to the police to say that she was raped by her own father - but the police officer did not take her words seriously and called her father, and, frightened, the girl withdrew the statement. In 2016, Jacqueline Savage was released - she was amnestied by François Hollande himself.

Kiranjit Aluwalia came to England in 1979 when she was twenty-three, leaving her native India and studying law. The girl was forced to marry - over the next ten years she constantly endured physical and sexual abuse, and her husband treated her like a slave.

Once Kiranjit set fire to her husband's sheets while he was sleeping. She did not plan to kill him, but ten days later the man died - and the woman was accused of murder.The defense insisted on manslaughter due to provocation from the deceased, but the court did not agree with her. According to the law, to admit that a woman was not fully aware of her own actions, an immediate impulsive reaction to someone else's action was required - in the case of Kiranjit, several hours passed between the last attack of her husband and the arson.

The jury sentenced her to life in prison. Kiranjit did not have a lawyer and the opportunity to appeal, but she turned to a human rights organization. In 1992, with her help, she managed to get the case to be re-qualified for "manslaughter", and she herself was recognized as "partially sane." Kiranjit's sentence was reduced to three years and four months, which she had already spent in prison, and she was immediately released. British human rights activists consider the case to be especially important, since they managed to prove that the condition of a woman who suffered from domestic violence for a long time was special. This is not a harsh reaction to sudden actions of the aggressor - on the contrary, emotions accumulated gradually, after which a breakdown occurred.


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