The Memory Stays

12 images Created 26 May 2021

Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is not a safe solution for everyone: not for women and children affected by domestic violence. The corona pandemic severely restricts daily life. Quarantine and fear of existence burden families and partnerships - in this situation, conflicts and domestic violence did increase worldwide as in Germany. At the same time, it has becoming more difficult for those affected to seek help.
Statistically, in normal conditions, sixteen times an hour, a person in Germany becomes a partner violence victim. One out of four women is at least once a victim of physical violence or sexual abuse by her current or previous partner. Women of all social classes are affected.
Socially, it is mainly accepted as a private matter.

It seems that there was a higher reporting about domestic violence in Germany during the pandemic. At the same time, this news was triggering, and memories were suddenly present again.
I was born in the former Soviet Union in today's Kyrgyzstan, where violence against women and children was the norm. I was a child, but I will never forget those dark moments full of fear, panic riddled with screams I witnessed already in kindergarten. I saw things that I tried to erase out of my memory.

But this topic caught up with me again when I was an adult shortly after graduating from university in 2007. A close student friend was fatally stabbed to death on an open street by her ex-partner in a small town in Germany. It was a shocking situation for her family and us, her friends. At that time, I was not aware that also in Germany, there is a high number not only of domestic violence but even femicides.

The Memory Stays shall highlight domestic violence's complexity and how affected persons deal with such experiences, even many years later. My personal story is one of many.

This project was supported by the National Geographic Society COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
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