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Victims of violence have their mark. It’s a hand clenching into a fist

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A hand clenching into a fist – this is a sign that maybe now we should all know. It means that the victim of violence is asking for help but is afraid to do it out loud. The aim of the “The Art of Responding to Violence” campaign is to increase the sensitivity of Warsaw residents to situations of domestic violence.

This is an example of a situation in which a random person changed the fate of a two-year-old child. – The girl’s mother, with another relative, was walking on the street, hit her (the child – editor’s note) in the face and started to pull her. When the girl started crying and screaming, they started covering her face with their hands. And someone recorded it – says Karolina Tatrzańska, “Family is for Children” campaign, Foster Care Administrative Center in Łódź. In the case of this girl, after the recording was made available, the services intervened. The violence appeared to be constant and went far beyond what the witness saw. It was fortunate that for once there was no violence behind closed doors. That’s why it’s so important to respond. This is what the latest information campaign in Warsaw encourages. – We are still a society that thinks of it as a denunciation. Not in the category of doing something good – explains Maja Herman, a psychiatrist.

Two years since the beginning of the child psychiatry reform. “This is an excellent step forward, but only a step.”Marta Balukiewicz/Fakty po Południu TVN24

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The aim of the “The Art of Responding to Violence” campaign is to increase the sensitivity of Warsaw residents to situations of domestic violence experienced by dependent people – i.e. children, people with disabilities and seniors. Victims – dependent on perpetrators in various ways – are often unable to ask for help themselves. The problem among seniors is not knowing what to call domestic violence and where to seek help. – First of all, they feel ashamed. (…) Because the perpetrators are most often people from their immediate environment, from the family – says Magdalena Rutkiewicz, president of the management board of the “Projekt Starsi” Foundation. This means that often only witnesses can save the victim. That is why the center of the campaign is information about a hand gesture, which can be used in a simple and non-verbal way to let those around you know that you need help. This can be done out of the perpetrator’s sight – but so that others can see him. – This is a hand that clenches into a fist, i.e. a signal that someone sends to us, which signals around the world that someone needs help – explains Monika Beuth, spokeswoman at the Warsaw City Hall.

According to data from the city hall, in 2022, almost six and a half thousand victims of violence in Warsaw were covered by the blue card procedure. These were mainly women and children. The statistics are getting worse every year, not only in the capital. That is why anti-violence campaigns are organized by cities all over Poland. – This year’s campaign, which, as usual, we initiate at the end of November, will also be dedicated to seniors – says Radosław Michalski, director of the City Promotion and Tourism Department at the Wrocław City Hall. The response encouraged by local governments is to call 112.

Author:Maria Mikołajewska

Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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