‘We need a law’ Russian magazine puts survivor Margarita Gracheva on the cover of issue calling for domestic violence legislation

On May 19, Natalya Rodikova — the editor-in-chief Domashny Ochag (Good Housekeeping) — posted the cover of the magazine’s forthcoming June issue on Instagram. The cover photo features Margarita Gracheva — a domestic violence survivor whose husband was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for cutting off her hands.

“I want to say that Margarita Gracheva is a terribly brave girl, but even the bravest ones, even the real warriors, can’t be left alone. We need a domestic violence law,” Rodikova wrote in her post.

The magazine editor added that the June issue contains a special project on the issue of domestic abuse. In addition to advertising an interview with Gracheva herself, the magazine cover highlights this special project with the phrase “We need a law on domestic violence.”

A bill on preventing domestic abuse has been pending on the Russian Federation Council’s website since November 2019. The speakers of both the upper and lower chambers of the Russian parliament supported the bill. However, it drew criticism from civil society activists who took part in developing the legislation. In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church has campaigned against adopting the draft law, claiming that it’s “anti-family.” The bill has yet to be submitted to the Russian State Duma for consideration. 

Margarita Gracheva lost both of her hands in December 2017, when her husband attacked her with an axe. A few months before the incident, Gracheva appealed to the police after her husband beat her up and threatened her. The authorities claimed there were no grounds for opening a criminal case.

While doctors managed to save Gracheva’s left hand, her right hand had to be replaced with a bionic prosthetic. Grachev’s ex-husband was sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security prison in 2018.

The June issue of Domashny Ochag will go on sale in a few days.

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