Teenager A.R from Bardhosh in the municipality of Prishtina, experienced a situation which she will never forget for the rest of her life.
She ended up in hospital after being physically assaulted by the person whom she was romantically involved with, and had a three year love affair. Never in her life had she expected something like that from the person she loved the most.
Interviewed by KosovaLive, under the condition of anonymity, she speaks of being physically assaulted on numerous occasions following her engagement.
The last time was the worst and most “meaningless”. The violence, she says, started when her 19 year old boyfriend accused her of not “being capable of cooking as his mother”.
Unlike from other women who encountered violence but had no other choice but to remain with their husbands, she feels “fortunate” to have had the support of her family. Her engagement ended immediately after this act of violence.
What A. R did not do was report the case, not even to the police.
From January to September 2016, 819 cases of violence against women were reported, 640 out from which involved women as victims.
The number of unreported cases, such as the one involving A. R. remains unknown.
However, according to the official statistics, the number of women who report violence to the police is on the rise recently.
Kosovo Police Press Office confirmed for KosovaLive that 1.038 cases of domestic violence, were reported during 2015, and 869 were reported by women as victims.
They experienced violence in various ways such as: intimidation, physical injury, assault, insult, psychological violence, etc. The age of women also differs.
Not all cases are reported to authorities. There are many cases that remain within the walls. It may turn out that those cases outnumber the cases reported. Consequently, numbers regarding this issue are never accurate.
Statistics show that 62% of the citizens have experienced domestic violence during their lifetime, 68% out of them are women.
Yet another concern of the women who were abused is their new place to live. Many of them do not have support by their families, so they have to seek shelter at respective state institutions, only 8 functioning in Kosovo.
Adelina Berisha, researcher with Kosovo Women Network, expresses great concern when it comes to the functioning of these shelters.
“Women, victims of abuse, can stay there only 6 months. Also, they are not allowed to be accompanied by their sons over 12 years old, though this does not apply for girls”, says Berisha.
Shukrije Gashi from the nongovernmental organization Partners Kosova says for KosovaLive, that this organization focuses on the economic empowerment of women: providing them with communication skills, drafting projects and collaborative planning.
Gashi insists that “laws are there but women do not know how to claim their rights”.
Even though these cases are being reported to the police, the perpetrator is kept only 24 to 48 hours in custody, and then released.
According to Adelina Berisha violence does not know profession nor geographical region.
“A lot of women were mistreated by husbands, who were highly educated. There are cases in rural areas that ended with fatality involving women who suffered high degree of violence,” she said.