X and Y v Georgia
Communication No. 24/2009
Decision date: 13 July 2015
X was raped by her future husband at a party. She married him because of societal pressure in Georgia which prizes women’s virginity as a significant precondition for marriage. Together they had five children. X and her daughter Y – both Georgian nationals – for years suffered physical and sexual violence and psychological abuse at the hands of their husband and father respectively.
From 2001 onwards, X repeatedly complained to the authorities about acts of violence to which she and her children were subjected. In 2004, X also reported incidents of physical and sexual abuse inflicted on Y by her father. None of her complaints was properly investigated, and a criminal case was never opened. The decision not to open a criminal case was appealed by X, and her last appeal was dismissed by Tbilisi Court of Appeal in February 2006. At the time of the events, there was no legal framework in Georgia to provide effective legal protection, shelter and support to victims of domestic violence.
X submitted that the authorities viewed her complaints as a private matter, and her husband was merely asked to sign unenforceable declarations that he would not resort to violence again. Criminal charges were never pressed against him despite the existence of prima facie evidence of criminal offences. X and Y’s claims before the CEDAW Committee included that, by the authorities’ inaction, they tacitly contributed to the husband’s violent behaviour. They also reiterated that, outside of the family, the testimonies of X, Y and the other children were always subjected to an inherently biased and discriminatory attitude in favour of the husband’s evidence.
The full case summary is available in the Summer 2016 Bulletin.