A woman is a man's footwear.
“When I was nine years old he made a woman of me.”
My father was nearly always in prison. My mother didn’t take any part in my upbringing. I was expelled from school when I was 14; I’d been stealing with three friends. I went to night school to become a painter, but I worked in a bar instead, and managed to get a room to live in.
I was raped several times. I had a son, but then I was sent to prison and he was put into a children’s home and later placed in a foster family.
Being in prison was terrible at first, but you survive, and it gave me a break.
For the first year I didn’t think of anything, I just wanted to get out and carry on with the life I’d been living. But then I started remembering all kinds of nice things in life, good things I hadn’t appreciated while life was rushing by. Things like friendship.
Maybe I’ll find happiness, all those simple little things. Real friends. A trip to the country.
I’d withdrawn into a shell. But a year ago, I suddenly told a friend what had happened when I was nine. It just came out. I talked for a long time and I felt much better afterwards.
My son’s father died of AIDS, but we’ve survived. I wish I could have my son with me, but first I need to have somewhere to live, and a job. He’s six now. My neighbours don’t want me to move back to my old room, but I’m fighting for it, and the case is going to court.
Maybe I’ll find happiness, all those simple little things. Real friends. A trip to the country. Being able to live for real, not just exist.
Maternal deaths: 34 deaths per l00,000 births (2008)
Number of children/woman: 1.42
Abortion legislation: Right to abortion
Law against rape within marriage: No
Violence against women in close relationships: Violence in the home is the cause of two thirds of all murders in Russia. It is estimated that 34,000 women are subjected to violence in the home each year. 60-70 per cent of these victims do not report the abuse, mainly because previous attempts to report it have failed.