UNFPA in Belarus presented the play "Seven" in Hrodna

29 April 2016

Another performance of the play "Seven" about women's rights has been staged in Hrodna. The readers of the play were the representatives of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, Hrodna oblast Executive Committee, heads of institutions of culture and art, representatives of sport and community of people with disabilities. The reading of the play "Seven" was held on the 28th of April in the old town of the city on the stage of the Youth center ‘Hrodna’ (St. Savetskaya, 9).

 The reading of the play was complemented with the photo exhibition of the public faces of the UNFPA campaign "ZERO TOLERANCE TO GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE". Famous sportsmen, musicians, TV hosts, politicians and diplomats shared their quotes against gender-based violence. The Youth center has also launched a running line with a call to stop violence against women and a national «helpline» for victims of domestic violence and men-aggressors who want to change their behaviour, 8-801-100-8-801.


The project is implemented in Belarus by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and is a part of the program work of UNFPA in the area of gender equality and combating gender-based violence.

The project "Seven" is aimed to cover issues and challenges related to gender-based violence in the world. In Belarus the play "Seven" is intended to initiate public discussion about women's rights and issues of domestic violence, which will involve the media, international community, public persons, experts and decision-makers. Counteraction to domestic violence is one of the key objectives of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Belarus.



The results of the research conducted by UNFPA in Belarus in 2014 indicate that 3 out of 4 women and men face domestic violence – 77% of respondents. There is 75.6% of men and 76.2% of women, which faced psychological form of domestic violence at least once in their life; physical — 31.6% of women and 24.8% men; economic — 36.5% of women and 27.9% men; sexual — 18.4% of women and 11.9% of men. The aggression comes from men in 86.2% of cases. Only 29.2% of women, who suffer from physical and sexual type of domestic violence seek help from psychologists, lawyers, medical personnel or legal authorities. More than a quarter of the victims keep silence because they think that domestic violence is a matter of a private concern and do not want it to become a public issue, without understanding that reporting violence can make it a public concern. Women also do not seek help, because they feel ashamed and are afraid of losing their reputation (16.9%), hope that this will not happen again (15.9%), do not want their partners / husbands to be arrested (13.8%), are afraid of being exposed to more violence (8.5%).



The co-organizer of this public diplomacy event in Hrodna was Hrodna Oblast Executive Committee, which is the main partner of UNFPA in preventing and counteracting domestic violence in Hrodna region.

A Center for psychological help for male aggressors was opened in Hrodna with the support of UNPFA. This model demonstrates high efficiency according to the world practice (79% of men do not return to domestic violence).

The Crisis Center operates in Leninsky district, which carries out activities on prevention and combating violence, promoting social adaptation and rehabilitation of citizens in crisis situations.

The rooms for women victims of domestic violence operate on the ground of one of the Orthodox parishes of diocese in Hrodna with the support of the Committee and of the Center of Leninsky district.

Hrodna is also one of the regions piloting a national model of multisectoral mechanisms to counteract Domestic Violence.



A national helpline for victims of domestic violence operates in Belarus, 8-801-100-8-801. A victim of domestic violence can receive necessary information as well as psychological and legal assistance. The consultants of the hotline are practicing psychologists and lawyers as well as skilled social workers, who have been trained in the framework of the international technical assistance project, implemented by UNFPA in Belarus, "Developing National Capacity to Counteract Domestic Violence in Belarus’.

The reading of the play was presented under the initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Belarus, the Embassy of Sweden in Belarus and Swedish Institute (Stockholm). The producer of the play "Seven" is a Swedish actress, writer, and consultant Hedda Krausz Sjögren. The authors of the play "Seven" are Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith and Susan Yankowitz.


From the left to the right: Deputy Chairman of the Committee of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Hrodna Oblast Executive Committee Tatyana Khinskaya (Hafsat Abiola, Nigeria), Director of Hrodna oblast Drama Theater Igor Gedich (Inez McCormack, Northern Ireland), Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee on education, science, culture and social development of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, Head Physician of the Hrodna oblast In-Patient Heart Center Tamara Dolgashei (Mu Sochua, Cambodia), chairman of Lida region organization Republican Association of Wheel chair Users Alexander Avdevich (as Voice), member of the the Standing Committee on legislation and state-building of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Yuri Alexei (Annabella De Leon, Guatemala), chairman of the Hrodna oblast organisation Association of visually handicapped people Irina Novikova (Farida Azizi, Afghanistan), Head of the main department of ideology, culture and youth of the Hrodna Oblast Executive Committee Versotsky Alexander (Mukhtar Mai, Pakistan). 

The play "Seven" represents seven stories of real women activists from different cultures, who suffered from violence, victimization, contempt, humiliation and social restrictions from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Guatemala, Cambodia, Nigeria, Northern Ireland and Russia. The play denounces and challenges any kind of discrimination based on gender.

The project "Seven on tour" travels to different countries where the problem with the respect of principles of gender equality and women's rights exist (30 countries, including Belarus, 24 languages, including Belarusian, more than 25,000 viewers, over 600 readers). The performance of the play is carried out in partnership with local authorities, non-governmental organizations and initiatives. The connection between state institutions and public organizations are established and strengthened while working on the project.

Each time a new unique "ensemble" of readers is created. Despite the fact that the play presents only female monologues, both women and men can read them. In Belarus the roles were read by representatives of ministries and departments, the Supreme court of the Republic of Belarus, the General Prosecutor's office, the presidential Administration, a victim of violence, journalists, media persons, representatives of art, sports, NGOs and the international community.

The stage director of the Belarusian production of the play “Seven” was Ivan Pinigine, who introduced the 8th role to the seven monologues - the one of the Voice. The Voice in the play not only guided the seven story lines, but also signified the turning points in the lives of the women, which made them fight for justice, equality and freedom.

The reading of the documentary play "Seven" was held within the campaign of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Belarus "ZERO TOLERANCE TO GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE"".

The play "Seven" with the involvement of Belarusian Youth as co-organizers of the reading will be held on May 12, 2016.