Awareness about domestic violence is growing in the Czech Republic. The organization ROSA
) is pushing for a new law that could allow law enforcement greater authority in domestic violence situations. At present there is apparently no legal provision to allow police to separate abusers and victims. Even among other Central European countries--including Austria and Slovakia which allow grant greater jurisdiction to law enforcement--the Czechs are apparently far behind, even compared to neighbors Slovakia and Austria. Unfortunately many Czech MPs do not support any changes in the current law. According to a somewhat disturbing story
from Czech Radio, some MPs fear the new law may be "abused," resulting in more "messy divorce cases." Surely there are plenty of divorce cases already, and this is obviously a pressing issue--ten women have already been killed in abusive relationships this year in the Czech Republic. The opposition seems to be another facet of strange ideas
about "the family."
The Silent Witness project
, begun in Minnesota, has supported a public exhibit to raise awareness about domestic violence and to cultivate community-based violence reduction efforts. Like their American inspiration, the Czech exhibits feature red silhouettes of abuse victims killed by abusers. The silhouettes are displayed in a semi-circle and bear information about the commemorated victim. Lighted candles stand in front of each silhouette.