Mongolia is a small country in Asia wedged between its big and powerful neighbors China and Russia. Like many other nations in the region, gender-based violence ( GBV) remains a taboo topic in the small nation with only more than 3 million population.
Close to one-third of Mongolians still live nomadically. There have been changes, though, as many of the citizens now rely on motorcycles to move around and also employ smartphones to communicate. Still, there’s no denying that the traditional dogma of “what happens inside the yurt stays inside the yurt” still dominate Mongolian society.
There’s still a stigma against discussing GBV even in the nation’s rapidly growing urban areas, including the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, where there are around 1.4 million citizens.
Ganjavkhlan Chadraabal, the founder of the non-profit organization Lantuun Dohio which works to combat the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, said that people are still “being victimized all the time” and that “no one wants to talk about it.”
But there is a bright spot as Mongolians are starting to speak out.
A number of shocking and highly-publicized sex crimes in the last few months of 2017 have rocked the small country and drawn rare public attention to the GBV issues in Mongolia. While the past, conventional reticence to confront such issues still permeate both the personal and public spheres, the good thing is the country’s fledgling civil society is making a strong push to mobilize the public and affect new government policies in response to a number of horrific sexual assaults on girls.
It is not yet certain if local initiatives and efforts are in, anyway, being inspired by the “Weinstein Effect”, “#MeToo and #TimesUp movements in the West to draw attention to GBV in the West, but it is becoming increasingly clearer that traditional Mongolia won’t stay silent for long.