After a very surreal few months in America where policies have been introduced regarding funding of abortion, restrictions on immigration, and even a wall along the southern border of the country, Russia is taking a turn at legislation that makes no sense and has a strong potential to be damaging to its citizens. On Tuesday, a law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin decriminalized domestic abuse within a family.
The law determines that as long as no bones are broken, a beating of a child or spouse will be punished by 15 days in jail or a fine, if the incident does not occur more than once. The old law required a sentence of two years. The Guardian reported that another domestic violence law that would provide restraining orders and other safeguards for domestic abuse is currently stalled in parliament.
The bill lessening the offense for domestic abuse had been making its way through parliament since last year. According to The Guardian, Russia MP Yelena Mizulina introduced the bill. Mizulina is most known for her other work in Russian government, including a bill that prohibited gay propaganda. Mizulina argued for a less harsh punishment than the two-year sentence the domestic abuse law required, saying, "You don’t want people to be imprisoned for two years and labelled a criminal for the rest of their lives for a slap."
Mizulina's remarks — and the bill itself — trivialize the seriousness of domestic abuse, and Russia's problem with it. According to The Guardian, one woman in Russia dies from domestic abuse every 40 minutes. In the U.S., three women are killed by domestic violence each day. It is a very real problem across the globe that does not deserve to be overlooked by any government.
Americans need to be aware of the legislation that Russia is introducing and enforcing. In an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, President Donald Trump said he respects Putin, and mentioned that it would be a good thing if Russia helps wth the fight against ISIS. However, aligning our country with a nation that puts forward these kinds of bills isn't terribly comforting.
The Russian law is a very scary reality for those who may already suffer from domestic violence. By lessening the punishment for abuse, the government indirectly sends a message that it's acceptable in certain forms. What's almost more unbelievable is the cited reasoning behind the bill: that the government should stay out of people's private lives.
It's one thing for the government to not interfere with family matters, but when it comes to endangerment of a member of that family, that is certainly the time when the government should step in and make sure its citizens are safe.