Mightier than an out-dated system
This is Salome's story.
Would wearing tights have meant I wouldn’t have been attacked?
One night, in my hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, I was walking back from work when a man and two boys started catcalling me. Suddenly they were right behind me. They caught me. The attack lasted 20 or 30 minutes.
I immediately went to the police to report it. It was February. I was wearing a long dress and warm jacket but not tights. They said I didn’t look like a decent family girl. They asked me repeatedly why I was not wearing tights. As if that would have changed anything.
Even though my body was covered with scratches and bruises, the police didn’t believe me and made me take a ‘virginity test’ to prove I had been violated. After the test, the police finally began to investigate. They found the man and the boys a few days later. He was a 23 year old married father of two.
In court it was inferred that I was to blame.
When the case went to court, I felt like nobody was interested in me or how I felt. Court sessions would take place and I wouldn’t know about them; or if I was asked to attend, they would be cancelled without warning. I felt like everyone thought I was to blame. In court I was asked, “Why were you out alone at night, what did you want?” I had to retell and relive my story several times. In the end, my attacker was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
I am one of the few survivors in Georgia who has gotten justice. The system makes it extremely difficult. Survivors need to be heard and we deserve justice. Which is why I want to share my story with you. Things need to change.
In Georgia, 27 percent of women reported sexual abuse, but last year only eight rapists were convicted. This is totally unacceptable.
Changing the system one law at a time
Can you contribute to fund our team of human rights lawyers transforming the system?
Here’s what we are working on with partners in Georgia:
- Reforming sexual violence laws and procedures to ensure perpetrators are punished.
- Ensuring the legal system is responsive to survivors.
- Developing guidelines and training on building a victim-centered judicial process.
Our work with local partners has already produced positive outcomes - the Georgian government recently passed a law against sexual harassment.
Change is happening and it can continue with your support. Thank you for caring about the rights of women and girls. Your activism is making the difference.