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“Timely protection could not be provided without the active participation of the state and institutions.” – Diana Videva, Demetra Association

Diana Videva, Association "Demetra"
Diana Videva, Association “Demetra”

Diana Videva is a psychologist, a member of the Management Board of the “Demetra” Association and a professional with over twenty-five years of experience.

How did the topic of violence against women and girls become part of your professional path?
My conscious professional path began with the topic of violence against women and domestic violence in a small consulting office. Subsequently, the topic expanded to different types of gender-based violence. My first protest against stereotypical roles and expectations for the role of women began in my early years. It was related to education. I was already married and it was not very acceptable to continue studying at a university after already having a semi-university education. The discriminatory attitude towards women was recognized both in the workplace and in society. She had to be someone’s wife or daughter, otherwise she didn’t have much chance of success.
I think we still encounter this belief in society today, especially in smaller towns. As a woman, I have always felt the different treatment of both men and women in terms of the stereotypical behaviors and roles that are expected of me. I have always rebelled and opposed these beliefs, which also determined my choice of professional path, namely a helping profession related to the fight against violence and gender-based violence against women and children. Even today, I face this intransigence in myself daily, especially in situations of child abuse, because they are the most defenseless. I painfully experience the powerlessness I face in situations of impasse, but I continue with the hope that every fate and life is precious and only respecting the rights of women and children gives us a chance to live in a better and peaceful world.

What will you present at the conference on March 27 in Plovdiv?
I have been in this field for twenty-five years, namely helping and supporting victims of domestic and gender-based violence. What I will present are the achievements (specifically of the organization I work for, Demetra Association) during these years related to victim assistance, as well as what are those gaps in the protection and care systems that need to be filled in order for victim assistance to be effective. And what is urgent at the moment is the adoption of the amendment to the Social Security Act and, more specifically, the specialized services for victims of domestic violence. Of course, the other proposals to the law, such as a coordinating body and national statistics, are also of particular importance and necessity.

Why do you think this issue is important right now?
State commitment and responsibility is key in the proposed addition to the law. Until now, services and assistance for victims are offered by NGOs, which over time have gained expertise in providing services, but timely protection could not be provided without the active participation of the state and institutions.

What do you think is the most urgent to change in the current situation in Bulgaria, specifically on the subject of violence against women and domestic violence?
All proposals in the law to amend and add to the ЗЗДН are urgent and important for adoption and implementation. Otherwise, the sense of hopelessness of the victims and impunity of the perpetrators will continue to generate conflicts, including with fatal consequences for the parties.

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