Social apartment: how women and children in Kyiv are helped to escape violence
How long can you live in housing? What does staying in the apartment give? How to get to a safe place? We report firsthand.
A social apartment is a place for women in Kyiv who suffered from domestic violence. Here they help pregnant women and mothers with young children in difficult life circumstances. When they need a home, help, support, shelter, facing domestic violence. Since 2013, 75 women have lived and been rehabilitated here, and the apartment has helped each of them get on their feet. Women from completely different social strata can get here, because, unfortunately, domestic violence in Ukraine is a phenomenon existing at all social levels:
"Since 2013, the students stayed in the apartment who later graduated with honors diplomas from Shevchenko University and Kyiv Polytechnic. They had the following life circumstances: they got pregnant, and boyfriends or mothers-in-law threw them out on the street. We also had orphanage graduates forbidden to live in technical vocational school's dormitories because of pregnancy. There were those who came out of prisons and wanted to reunite with children. There were women with mental illness. We had the girls raped by militants and those who were in captivity. There were female deputies and policewomen. The spectrum is very, very diverse," says Halyna Skipalska, executive director of the Ukrainian Public Health Foundation, the organization that created the social apartment and the Right to Health Center.
Olena (name changed), one of the social apartment clients and of the Right to Health Center, agreed to tell us her story. A little over a year ago, despite having her own house, she actually found herself on the street with her four daughters, the youngest being a year old and the oldest 16.