Hi everyone. I work for a Maltese NGO supporting victims of crime, through the provision of emotional support, practical assistance and legal information. Most of our clients are women, a large majority of whom are rape survivors or have suffered/are suffering DV. Malta is a tiny island, with a fairly low crime rate. However, lots of crimes go unreported, particularly when they occur within the family unit. This has mostly to do with shame and reputation in a local context where everybody knows each other. Not only does coming out often mean that your neighbours, friends, teachers, boss will become aware of your situation, but it may also mean that the police officers you will talk to are somehow related to one of your family members, or are friends of friends. Moreover, many women who report DV tell us that policemen often dismiss their experiences as exaggerated and overblown.
Although I think that anybody can suffer crime, as international statistics show, women are not only much more likely to be victimised, but also much more likely to be victims of gendered biases within the criminal justice system. This makes it much harder for them to obtain justice; this issue is exacerbated when they are foreign, have an unstable immigration status and cannot rely on a strong support system in the host country.
I would like to hear from others what it's like in their country, and what is being done to fight gender-specific violence. I feel like a lot more needs to be done in terms of education and training, both targeted at the general population, and at officials operating within the criminal justice system. All too often women who suffer rape are blamed for it, and I wonder how much is actually being done to educate people - and unfortunately, this mainly means boys and men - to 'not rape' in the first place. If you have any stories, resources, experiences to share, please get in touch.