Staunton, September 27 – In parallel with the rise of Ingush civil society in reaction to the land deal with Chechnya, Ingush feminists in June 2019 set up a telegram channel to provide mutual support for women in the republic who are victimized by the still deep-seated misogyny there.
The channel, t.me/madopage, now has 1075 members, an enormous number given the small size of the republic – there are fewer than 150,000 adult women among the Ingush – and the traditional views of and restrictions on women speaking out about the abuses they suffer within the home.
Most of the posts are anonymous because while the women want to share their experiences in the hopes of finding support against their oppressors and encouraging others to speak out, they still fear retribution from conservative forces in Ingush society which on gender issues is not much more advanced than Chechen or Daghestani patterns.
Zalina M., an Ingush sociologist speaking on condition of anonymity, tells the feminist Daptar portal that the situation in her reflect reflects the continuing strength of misogyny and that there is no leader who is driving things back to the past as there is in Chechnya. The past, she says, has not gone away (daptar.ru/2020/09/26/ing-patr1-int/).
She says that with each passing month, the posts on the telegram channel have become ever sharper and more critical of the situation Ingush women find themselves in, an indication that those who have spoken out are encouraging others to speak out as well and to take up the fight for women’s rights.
Unfortunately, there are so many wrongs that must be righted, including but not limited to violence in the family, restrictions on women’s activities in and outside the home, polygamy, and concubinage which is “in essence” sexual slavery, that the struggle must continue and expand.
But the most important step is for women to recognize that they are no one else’s property and to insist that they be treated as individuals with the same rights and freedoms as men. This portal, Zalina says, is helping them to do that.