Five actresses with bloodied and distorted faces send a cry for help in the center of the Bulgarian capital. Entering the role of victims, they started #nesisama (you are not alone) - a campaign against domestic violence against women. Posters with their close-up images and short messages are located in the heart of Sofia, the Crystal garden, in order to reach absolutely every one of us. Because even the indirect witness of violence is as responsible as the abuser and his actions can save a life.
According to data from non-governmental organizations, one in three women in Bulgaria is subjected to domestic violence, whether physical, mental or emotional. And this means that approximately 1million and 250 thousand Bulgarian women become victims of some form of harassment.
It turns out that Bulgaria is the only one in the European Union that does not keep official statistics on victims of domestic violence. At the same time, the phenomenon is deepening both here and around the world. However, the problem often remains unheard, misunderstood, closed within the framework of the family, therefore the proactive campaign #nesisama aims not only to make the victims seek help, but also to involve society in this multi-layered problem .
"It is very difficult to show the soul, because most victims either do not realize that they are victims of an abuser, or they hide it due to shame, fear and a huge misunderstanding from those around them," says Antonia Doncheva-Donya. A make-up artist by profession, she applied the stigma of violence behind closed doors to the faces of the actresses Bilyana Georgieva, Daria Simeonova, Desislava Bakardzhieva, Ioana Bukovska-Davidova and Silvia Petkova.
"A large part of our society believes that the victim is to blame for having caused it herself," she adds. “The same applies to other victims of violent relationships, including men - we say "He's putting up with her." But the problem is extremely serious, and until we realize that even one case of violence is too much, things will not change."
In many cases, the people who, through the screaming and crying, become witnesses of the violence in neighbouring homes, choose to remain uninvolved.
"One of our goals is to awaken empathy in society”, continues Antonia Doncheva. “For people to