|Laura Kryeziu at Jeta ne Kosove show on Thursday. Photo: BIRN|
Kosovo journalist Laura Kryeziu has broken something of a taboo in this socially conservative society by going on TV to say she was a victim of domestic violence.
The Pristina-based journalist went on BIRN’s TV show Jeta ne Kosove on Thursday to tell her story and to call on other women to fight for their rights and tackle this phenomenon that can end in death in Kosovo.
She said the violence began even before she got married aged 18 to her now ex-husband who then was 28.
“The violence started after we got engaged when, after a very small dispute initially, I was slapped in my face … but even when I told some people, most reacted that a slap was nothing,” Kryeziu began.
“This was the problem, me not reacting on time,” she said.
It took a whole decade before she decided to go public and openly talk about it, saying she hoped her story would have an impact on other victims who often still think it is shameful to admit such things.
After having two children and feeling physically and psychologically tortured, she said she quit her studies.
“I was scared to open the door of my apartment … I was afraid the neighbours were hearing what was happening inside,” she said.
Even after she started work for the public radio broadcaster, Kryeziu said she tried to cover up the violence she was experiencing.
“Once I was punched in my face but when a colleague asked me what had happened, I said a bee had stung me. I did not even think that it was December, and no bees were around,” she said.
Her ex-husband tried to convince her that she had mental problems – a lesson she wants other victims to learn.
“Don’t forget that as long as you are a victim of the domestic violence, you might believe that you truly have mental issues, but fight because you will win … I did study, I did my masters and I work as journalist,” she declared.
Kosovo marked the international day on ending violence against women on November 20 with several activities, such as displaying orange lights in the city park, aiming to raise awareness about street safety for women.
Murders of abused women in Kosovo have sparked growing protests, including one inspired by the movie Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, staged by the Pristina-based performing and protesting artistic group, Haveit.