Interactive project to combat domestic violence in Russia
Project 911 includes an interactive film; a news-gathering service on domestic violence; a test to help women assess the risks of abuse, and a list of NGO and crisis centre contacts.
This digital project is a concerted effort on behalf of the organisers to change people’s attitudes to this disturbing problem and to speed up the introduction of domestic violence legislation.
The authors quote data from Rosstat which show that one in every five women in Russia has suffered physical violence, with one in every three having experienced emotional abuse. Since last year’s amendment to Article 116 of the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code which decriminalised domestic violence, the number of horrific incidents has increased many-fold.
“Properly applied stand-alone legislation is required but this won’t come about until we have dispelled the myths and stereotypes around the taboo of domestic violence such as “It’s my fault” and “Why doesn’t she leave him”. Many people believe that such abuse is a major problem within marginalised families. However, these information projects can help educate, explain and shatter such dangerous misconceptions that kill with their inaction”, said Anna Rivina, CEO of the Nasiliyu.net (No to violence) women’s crisis centre, speaking about Project 911.
The interactive game 116 is based on real victims’ stories. The game is played by flipping over the number 116 (the number of the relevant Article of the Criminal Code) to reveal the emergency number, 911.
The interactive format needs to attract a large audience, principally young people who have never been a victim of domestic violence and so unaware of how widespread the problem is. “Maybe they’ll think in stereotypes such as “It’s her fault” or “It’s a family matter”. However, they are young people who can be educated in a game format which is familiar to them”, say the project’s authors.
The characters in game 116 are outwardly a normal couple but behind closed doors the husband is beating his wife on a regular basis. After playing the game, the participant is invited to put their name to an online Change.org petition, pressing for the introduction of domestic violence legislation. If a person decides not to sign, they end up on the news service page where they can see latest updates on domestic violence issues and learn for themselves the extent of the problem.
Project 911 also includes a psychological test that evaluates the potential risks to women of both domestic and emotional abuse.
Project 911 is a non-profit social project whose costs are being met in full by the RCG group of advertising and PR companies. Specialist NGOs have been involved at various stages of the Project’s development including the aforementioned ANNA Centre for the Prevention of Violence, Nasiliyu.net (No to violence), Project W, the Sisters independent rape crisis centre which helps survivors of sexual violence, and the Kitezh women’s crisis shelter.