In a report from 2015 Georgia’s Public Defender’s Office defined the scale of domestic violence in the country as “devastating.” In 2014 a series of femicides - 23 women were killed in domestic violence-related incidents - pushed the authorities to tighten the law to protect women against domestic abuse, yet law enforcement is weak and more often than not women are too scared or ashamed to denounce their husbands. Sometimes with fatal consequences.
Taking one’s "dirty linen into the public" is a shame, in small villages as in bigger towns like Akhalkalaki. However, sometimes bullying gets to the point when women leave the house and turn to neighbors for help. In the small town of Akhalkalaki, spreading news is easy but few help the victim of violence, because getting involved in someone else’s business is considered indecent.
Suicides occur few times a year, in different villages on Akhalkakali, but it can not be identified whether these tragedies are related to violence or not. In general having statistics is impossible, considering that everyone avoids to speak up.
Divorces are rare as the victim’s relatives push the woman to endure the violence, be it from the husband or the in-laws. Even rarer are the cases ending up in a trial - when they do take place, often the victim’s parents do not support their own daughter and the public justice points a finger against the woman.
Women who decide to challenge the social norm and divorce their husbands are unsung heroes. Like Ani. She was 19 when she married her now estranged husband and she spent as many years enduring his beatings. Now 39 she is recovering from the nasty divorce and is looking for a job to support her eight-year-old daughter and herself.
Financial dependence in marriage is an important aspect. Even if the marriage is bad, most women realize that it will be difficult for them to support the children and where to live with them after a divorce is another challenge.