It is believed that 14,000 women are killed in Russia by their husbands each year. When the mother of one her son’s classmates showed up at school with half her face severely bruised by her husband, Marina Pisklakova-Parker knew she could not sit idly by. In July 1993, she founded the first domestic violence crisis hotline in Russia. Today, her ANNA (Association No to Violence) organization has expanded to include a network of more than 40 crisis centers across Russia.
Pisklaskova-Parker has helped train others to become domestic abuse counselors, created psychological and legal counseling programs for battered women, and struggled to ensure just representation of domestic abuse victims in court. Yet despite her extraordinary efforts and achievements, often at great personal risk, Pisklakova-Parker insisted in an interview with filmmaker Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, “I am not an extraordinary person.” Instead, she says, “I feel…really lucky because I was at the beginning of something new, a great development in Russia, a new attitude. Now, everybody is talking about domestic violence. And many are doing something about it.”
In addition to her groundbreaking work on domestic violence, Pisklakova-Parker has become deeply involved in the issue of trafficking of Russian women and children. She is working to engage her government and Russian embassies around the world in protecting and repatriating trafficking victims back to Russia. She has worked closely with the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe and is active in public awareness campaigns and other outreach efforts to warn off potential trafficking victims. A Founding Member of the Vital Voices Global Advisory Council, she has partnered with Vital Voices to conduct leadership, advocacy and anti-trafficking training programs for women throughout Russia.