Letter: Diaspora Minister Clarifies Misunderstanding on Domestic Violence

The letter below by Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan is in response to an article published in the Armenian Weekly on Oct.10  titled “Domestic Abuse? What Abuse? … She fell and died!”

Zaruhi Petrosyan

It is a great grief that in the 21st century there are individuals, who can commit a crime therewith against a 20-year-old young lady. There is no justification for murder and I am shocked and saddened by this tragedy. The guilty should be punished with the utmost rigor of the law.  I can only imagine the pain Zaruhi Petrosyan’s family has to go through and I feel compassion and sympathy for each and every member of Zaruhi’s family.

For those who may be unaware, I would like to stress that I have been vigorously protecting women’s rights for the past 20 years by drafting out laws on women’s social and political issues. I have taken action by law to increase the number of females in the parliament. I am the president of the Armenian International Women’s Organization and co-founder of the American Armenian Wellness Center with Rita Balian, which promotes the early and accurate detection of breast and cervical cancer, and provides relatively low-cost primary healthcare services to women in Armenia. That is why it was particularly upsetting for me to hear that a few of your Armenian readers, particularly in California, inaccurately comprehended Nanore Barsoumian’s article and accused me of promoting domestic violence.

Let me emphasize once again that I am against any kind of violence and I believe that there should be equality in the family.

It is true that a couple of days before this tragedy, I announced that the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia is considering the possibility of organizing a “Miss Armenian” beauty contest since some of the Armenian communities have already held similar contests in their respective regions. In my personal opinion, an Armenian beauty should have good knowledge of the Armenian language, be a good cook, and preserve the image of an Armenian lady. As a woman and a political figure I feel obliged to talk about decency, humbleness, and modesty. My mother symbolizes the image of an Armenian woman for me, and she is modest, balanced, measured, and devoted to Armenian traditions and customs. I also believe that ill manners, immorality, and betrayal can destroy not only a family but a society. However, I strongly disagree with the parallels drawn in the article, since my definition of the image of an Armenian woman has nothing to do with domestic violence.

Thus, I would like to appeal to all those who have read Nanore Barsoumian’s article to re-read it once again and draw a more accurate conclusion of my words. I promote the image of an Armenian woman only, whose worthiness is especially significant in raising the next generation, but which has nothing to do with domestic or any other kind of violence.

Hranush Hakobyan
RA Minister of Diaspora

43 Comments on Letter: Diaspora Minister Clarifies Misunderstanding on Domestic Violence

  1. why do you even publish this letter? Unbelievable! Ms Hakobyan, How about promoting strong, intelligent, independent women? maybe then they will be less vulnerable to violence! I mean The ministry of the DIASPORA has nothing better to do than organize a beauty pageant? How about organizing a beauty contest for men and asking them to be honest, humble faithful to their wives, less aggressive and dominant, being good fathers, taking care of their children emotionally? As a diasporan, I am completely disappointed with your agenda!

  2. Is  Hranush Hakobyan who is the  Minister of Diaspora aware that organizing a “Miss Armenian” is everything else but to promoting strong, intelligent, independent women , who is a good mother and in the same time able to be engaged in politic and take responsible in field of science  and take responsibility  in the society!

  3. This letter and it’s language is so poor it is pitiful.  It is not about Ms Hakobyan, it is about a poor woman who was brutally murdered.  She is just defending herself and her poor record as the Minister of Diaspora.  I am sure she has some contact with the President of RA and Minister of Justice Etc.  What are they doing about it and what is she doing about this.  Her job is to represent the Diaspora to the president and tell him that the Diaspora and the Armenian people in RA are devastated by this incident and the man’s connection to the police. Where was she when the protocols were being signed?  How is she making it easier for the Diaspora Armenians to move to Armenia or invest in Armenia?

  4. @font-face { font-family: “Cambria”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: SectiAmerican V.P. Biden recently called violence against women, “the very worst abuse.” The very worst abuse is valuing one life less than another for having been born the wrong sex. Under Biden’s Violence Against Women Act the wrong sex is men. Shelter and services are virtually non-existent for male victims of domestic violence so those options out of a bad relationship, that are routinely available to women, are very often not available to men. Men wind up gender profiled and often falsely accused by the taxpayer funded, d.v. industry, because of gender feminist ideology controlling the d.v. industry. Men are often battered by domestic violence, and then battered again by the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry as shown in “Los Misandry” at Youtube.

  5. hey, are you sure your grammar is perfect??? let me help you, it should be ITS LANGUAGE and not IT’S LANGUAGE………….


  6. The serious problem here is not poor English, but pure sexism! And the sad thing is, she is oblivious of the problems of her discourse.

  7. So, Hranoush, first we will put her in a pretty dress and a string of pearls, wrap an apron around her waist, place a cooking spoon in her hand, and ask her not to be too loud, too pushy, too angry, too opinionated, too confident.  Then we will plop a crown on her head and call this strait-jacketed and muzzled woman the ‘pride of Armenia.’

  8. Ms. Hakobyan,
    As President of the Armenian International Women’s organization, I would’ve expected you to, at the very least, have been knowledgable of basic feminist theory. You portrayal of the “good Armenian woman” is precisely the root of the problem, and I’m perplexed that you don’t see that. You, along with most of society, attempts to place women in their proper place: “In my personal opinion, an Armenian beauty should have good knowledge of the Armenian language, be a good cook, and preserve the image of an Armenian lady. As a woman and a political figure I feel obliged to talk about decency, humbleness, and modesty.” It is precisely the failure to understand that every person defines for themselves who they are, what they want to be, that is the crux of the problem. Who are you to decide what the model of an Armenian woman is? “What does this have to be with domestic violence?” you ask. Well, here, a basic explanation. As a consequence of this type of thinking about women, you do not allow women to grow into strong, independently thinking individuals, who don’t always have to be modest, nor committed to a family that treats them as second-class human beings. You don’t EMPOWER women to steer the course of their own lives. Consequently, they keep believing that “my husband’s word is final” or “I can’t do that because my husband doesn’t want me to.” I’ve spoken to so many women in Armenia who, after getting a university degree, sit at home to raise children because their husbands don’t want them to go work. These women are not empowered, and it’s the type of thinking you put forth that perpetuates this system. Please rethink your ideas on gender and women’s rights. With all due respect to you, I think a basic book on feminism would be a good start.

  9. Boyajian, I think we should also make sure that the length of her skirt is appropriate (below her knee), that she doesn’t have make-up on, and she doesn’t look sexy. She must be a virgin until she gets married. She shouldn’t be too intelligent either, it’s a threat to her husband’s authority in the family. She should be the one making all the sacrifices in the relationship. 
    If I am not mistaken, Hranoush has been a very career-oriented and pushy woman her entire life. She used to be a die-hard Komsomol activist (correct me if I am wrong). After the collapse of the USSR she managed to grab other positions in the new government. Quite a flexibility considering that many communists ended up losing their positions.

    I wonder what her idea is of the virtues of an Armenian man.

  10. It’s unfortunate the Armenian Diaspora can’t elect it’s own minister.
    “Well behaved women seldom make history.”

  11. Observer, The question should be why the president of AR doesn’t appoint someone from Diaspora to the position of the Minister of Diaspora?

  12. I can only say thank you to all of the other commentators!!!
    Perhaps in defense of ourselves we can be a little too loud at home sometimes?  “ill manners, immorality, and betrayal” come in many, many forms, especially that of violence (including verbal – and toward children) in the home.  Shame on the women that don’t stand up to that in their homes.

  13. Empowered women can be good mothers, good wives, and good citizens with good morals, good manners and loyalty to their families.

  14. How about promoting education, health, self-esteem?  This article is pathetic.

  15. PS I have heard people say that Armenia unfortunately is a country run by gangsters.  I know that there are strong anti-corruption impulses among the people in all respects and avenues of endeavor, who struggle against corrupt influences in many ways.  But this set of “values” in this letter strikes me, honestly, as the women who would be just right for gangsters:  quiet, well-dressed, obedient, and not knowing too much.  And that is a disservice to Armenian womanhood and all those who have secured us shelter from the historical abuses of our people.

  16. You’re all being silly and egotistical. The Minister of Diaspora is NOT there to represent the Diaspora in the administration, she is there to represent the ADMINISTRATION in the Diaspora. The Diaspora is represented by a number of other channels, usually informal ones; whether or not it should be is up for debate, but nevertheless, the distinction is important.
    In any event, yes, the ministry should have far more important things to do than hold a beauty contest.
    But some of you are being rude and malicious. The irony in this is that you are all attacking a woman who is a MINISTER in the government for holding women back. How can she believe a woman should “know her place” while at the same time position that “place” at the very top? Or why do you all think what she said automatically means she opposes “strong and independent” women? She seems to embody those same virtues herself. Isn’t her example the greatest form of advocacy there is?
    Feminist theory, Hasmig? Pah! Mrs. Hakobyan (and scores of Armenian women before her) have broken many ceilings without a “book on feminism” — as if that will be the cure for Armenia’s women. (As a side note, in your rant you missed a point that should be obvious to anyone vaguely familiar with “feminist theory:” what Mrs. Hakobyan was advocating is a branch of feminist theory — it’s called “maternal feminism”).
    Mrs. Hakobyan, I oppose your government and administration and do not agree with you on many things. But I admire you for leading by example. “Feminist theory” and all its branches has offered a brilliant critique of many of our societies but has yet to offer a coherent path to the future. We have much progress left to make in this arena; hopefully we can follow a path that can fix many of the problems contemporary feminism didn’t foresee (or ignored). We have a good opportunity here; let’s not let it be squandered by some of the more irresponsible members of our community.
    As for what Janine said – yes Janine, you’re right, “not-knowing-too-much,” “well-dressed” women tolerate murders and criminality.

  17. Dumanian, you are the epitome of ranting. You insulted and talked down to every single person who commented here, and yet you try to defend the Minister against what you consider to be rants and insults. “Rude and malicious”? Why don’t you read your own comment. Charity begins at home, and you, my friend, need a lot of it.

  18. avatar ara nazarian // November 4, 2010 at 4:53 pm // Reply

    not sure whether to laugh or cry at this “clarification”
    very unfortunate

  19. Ah – where to start? Usually I ignore people who don’t have the courage to post their real names when confronting others on the internet and those who rant about the rant rather than addressing the content of it; but I’ll make an exception in your particular case because I’ve been in the mood to come back to these forums lately (lucky you)!
    Mr. Irony – so let me get this straight: you searched the entire forum ranging from Avetis’s tirades against the Diaspora to Janine’s post above about Mrs. Hakobyan being attracted to and tolerating murderers and gangsters, and decided my specific rant was the one so bad, so horrendous, it required you coming out of your shell and posting something on the internet? Since you’re so concerned with the order and conduct of the forums, wouldn’t it be more proper if you allocated your time and energy to combating posts like those of Janine? Posts that went from Mrs. Hakobyan’s letter to a crazy theory about her family and people “like her” being attracted to Armenia’s scum. Wow, talk about a moral compass!
    But we don’t need this moral relativism anyway, or a debate on word choice. People ranging from those who called Mrs. Hakobyan’s family (who I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt and say is a lovely one) gangsters and criminals (Janine), those above that started RANTING about Mrs. Hakobyan’s personal life (Gina), and to those who are blaming Mrs. Hakobyan for a brutal murder that otherwise had nothing to do with her (which is why I’m puzzled as to why she even wrote this letter) are being…what did I say?…”silly,” “egotistical,” “rude,” and “malicious.”
    In any event, it’s the internet, we’re entitled to a rant or two. Go fight evil somewhere else.

  20. Henrik Dumanyan,

    I’m willing to have an open discussion with you, if you are (without insults or personal attacks).

    There are different branches of feminism that developed through three distinct waves of feminism in the West. The “maternal feminism” you referred to was among the first types of feminism, which essentially helped bring women into the public sphere. This was in the late 19th century into the early 20th century. While women’s “place” had solely been “the home” where she was a mother and wife, “maternal feminism” advocated their involvement in the public arena (in the controversial issue of temperance, for example). This, however, came with a caveat: Work in the public arena as a mother or wife. In other words, a woman’s “place” in society did not change, although she did some work outside the home. Self-determination was not an option. Now this type of thinking gradually changed, progressed, to a different wave of feminism, which began to realize that women could (and should) define their own “place” in life. Women  began asking these fundamental questions: Do we want to work within the patriarchal system that has pigeonholed us into roles, or do we want to break free and determine those roles for ourselves? We see that in most women’s movements across the world, not just in the west, this evolution gradually took (and is taking) place. Women first came out as mothers and wives, but slowly began to radically think about their lives. They began to question patriarchy’s system of dominance. Some went further to link different forms of oppression to one another: sexism, militarism, domestic violence, etc. You see, feminism went (and is going) through its own evolution: it began with “maternal feminism” for some, but decades later, we’re at a different place, both, theoretically and in terms of activism.

    We see similar shifts happening in Armenia. We’re now at the point where there is a bit of what may be called “maternal feminism,” by which women “rise” in what’s essentially a system created by men. We also see this phenomenon manifested in women’s participation in NGOs. In this system, however, their roles are pre-determined for them, and any dramatic shift away from these roles would not be approved by the men in power. That’s why feminism, like any other struggle, is one against oppression. Just because a few women took some positions of “power” (in government), doesn’t mean the glass ceiling is broken. It is and will be a struggle, not just for the women fighting for liberation, but for all of society that will inevitably be transformed.

    Turning now to Hakobyan: She may indeed be an advocate of “maternal feminism,” but as decades of global feminist work have shown us (and as I’ve described above) that’s not really feminism. Feminism is equality. Complete equality. This means the right to self-determination, the right to choose one’s “place” in life, and the right to change that “place” if one wants.


  21. Posts that  went from Mrs. Hakobyan’s letter to a crazy theory about her family and  people “like her” being attracted to Armenia’s scum.
    I did not say this at all.  You have twisted my words.  i was speaking about the boundaries she gave for what the values of Armenian women should be.  We should be good cooks, know the language and have the right image of an Armenian lady.  Humble and traditional.  Well, I’m sorry there is nothing here about being well-educated and knowing what rights we have if we are abused.  There is nothing here about speaking out for what is correct – no we are to be quiet and humble.  There is nothing here about teaching our girls to respect themselves by not being with abusers.  No, this quiet, well-dressed, good cook is the perfect gangster spouse – staying where she belongs and really, not knowing too much.  I wasn’t speaking personally about the author but about the picture she draws of what is important for a woman and what she clearly has left out of this picture she drew.  In fact, she certainly left out “politically ambitious.”
    I’m certain bothering to clarify will make no difference.  Someone who wants to twist my words really isn’t interested in understanding in the first place.  But you should know that, you’ve tried hard enough to provoke.  A waste of time – perhaps others will listen so I bothered.

  22. Oh, and I’m certain to pique again by saying the following:
    That what is not said here, but which is understood by all of us who grew up with this system is that, of course, if we somehow don’t come up in the eyes of others to all the perfection encompassed in this vision of a “lady” – then perhaps we deserve whatever disrespect we get.

  23. Hasmig jan, I’m glad you’ve decided to have a real discussion and no longer feel the need to talk down on people like they’re idiots (as you did with Mrs. Hakobyan).
    I enjoyed your response; but the points I made were not addressed (in fact they were validated) and I don’t see what else I can add to the discussion.

  24. Well, mrs. Hranoush. Why wouldn’t you serve as an example? Traditions… cook on your own, and why you are engaged in politics? It is against the traditions!!! Remember the words of Zohrab about an Armenian lady in Stanbul that was engaged in politics? He said it is wrong and harmful for the family! Than keep the traditions! Get out of politics! And be silent, as it is commended to a woman to be in the Bible and as the sexist men promote it!
    Why then you came out from your kitchen? Go back! Surely, your grandma and ma were not politicians. Were they? You try to make dolls out of women: good-looking, brainless, half-empty and easy-to-govern, easy-to-manipulate persons.
    Preserve the image of an Armenian lady. Then cover your head and your mouth, as it was done, wear that Taraz! Show you’re obeying…

  25. Hasmig:
    In my opinion true liberation of any type is authenticity – the power to be yourself.  That may be the wonderful maternal good cook.  I quite think humility is an extraordinary virtue – just not the way I believe it is used here.  True humility is something entirely different – it is something that gave the saints the courage to stand against all and nothing like the circumscribed woman who is quiet and “modest” in the sense that she doesn’t speak up.  If the great cook, who knows the language, etc. is an authentic person, true to herself, that is a great thing.  But authenticity is always a challenge to those who would control – and a provocation to the ones who would circumscribe a role.

  26. In the USA women abilities to work at home and then too, to work in the industries came to be during WW2… men went to the war and women supported the war effort and took care of the home front.  Armenian women, and we have many in our history who have been as great and as brilliant as any man, the USSR put all to work… women, who too, kept the house and family and went to work… and now in Haiastan, women are able and aware of their capabilities… yet being considered as ‘chattel’ and in many instances as
    not having the brains that God has given to all his children… Women have moved forward and ahead… in many civilized nations women are in the leaderships.  In a Turkey the women must wear headgear… symbolizing the women’s subservience to their
    men, and so it is in regressive nations. 
    Armenian women, the world over, the ARS a prime example of dedicated volunteers wherever Armenians, over 100 years now, serving the needs of all Armenians – proudly and collectively – untarnished, intelligently, and strong. Worthy of all the support and 
    allegiances we contribute to share with them in all their efforts for all.  Manooshag 

  27. Gina, aha, how now to know what the male shall offer to the world….  So far, men ‘running’ the world have produced very poor results….  Religions, which teach their adherents to be hateful towards other religions, Nations, neighbors, are fighting for conquests – genocides ongoing and unending (prime examples the Turk)… Atomic bombs threatening all the world, and all the armaments being built by the industrialized nations.  Too, nations that are buying all these armaments – storing them OR selling them to other nations…. So, it goes…  Thus the men have shown that in politics they can lie and still exist in governement, and worse.  So….  if the men still repress the women, they are still the leaderships and, of course, will not give up this ‘power’ (which is destroying the world).  Ladies, unite, the world hsa need of you… and soon.  Manooshag

  28. Henrik, if you don’t see how your points were addressed, then I agree that you have nothing else to contribute to the conversation.
    Janine, we’re in total agreement. A woman can be a cook, as long as she chooses to be. As I had written above: “Feminism is equality. Complete equality. This means the right to self-determination, the right to choose one’s “place” in life, and the right to change that “place” if one wants.” The key point is self-determination, what you called “authenticity.” I really appreciate the final sentence of your last post.

  29. Yes, Janine, I agree with Hasmik about the final sentence of your last post.  Well said.  Self-determination is what Armenians wanted at the end of the Ottoman era, it is what Armenians wanted throughout the Soviet era, it is what Armenians in Artsakh want, and it is what Armenian women, like all people, deserve in the RA today.

  30. Shall Zaruhi will be the last victim ? How can we all make her to be the last one? Or God forbids, until the change will come we shall see another one. I think that’s the main question remain so far.

  31. avatar Ara Nazarian // November 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm // Reply

    Based on a report i read a few years ago, more than 70% of women in Armenia are victims of domestic abuse.  While an appalling figure, if true, I cannot say that I am surprised.  The mentality demonstrated by a large segment of men in Armenia  (I understand that this is a generalization and not reflective of the entire population) is truly astounding.  This attitude carries over in relationships with spouses as well. Unfortunately, given the mindset of the country, where domestic abuse is treated as a hush hush private matter with little if any intervention from the police or the rest of the government, the end result is what we have now.
    On a sad anecdotal note, a friend was telling me about an Armenian lady who was married to a Diasporan. Apparently, they we having some difficulties, and the husband brought the subject up with his brother in law (wife’s brother), who in turn told him that their marital problems were  the husband’s fault, since he would not give his wife a good beating every now and then to keep her in line. This was coming from the woman’s brother. Again, this is an n of 1, but it makes a point.

    We cannot legislate our way out of the mentality that produces domestic abuse.  Tough laws and more importantly, swift implementation of the said laws, will surely have an impact. But, the changing of attitudes based on proper education and understanding of the roots of the problem will be the real agent for change and not the fear of punishment (which is a useful carrot but not the real cause).
    On that note, we can take steps to address this issue together.  Simply complaining about it will not make it go away, and if there was a Zaruhi yesterday, who is to say that there will not be another one tomorrow. We can pull our resources together to provide educational materials in the form of pamphlets, TV ads, radio ads, magazine ads, lectures, special segments on TV programs … to talk about this issue rationally and suggest means to address them.  This is not a problem for Armenia alone, it is one for Armenians (much like most of our issues).  So, while we understand the issue and are incensed by it, we must take action to address it.  I am more than willing to provide my help.  Can we get a small group together to brain storm and come up a plan of action?
    We all know of the special place Armenian mothers have in the hearts of their sons (some of whom turn out to be wife beaters).  How would these grown men handle the site of their own mother being beaten?  Not too well I am sure.  Direct and poignant messages such as this can be sent to the population – we just need to take some steps in that direction.

  32. avatar Ara Nazarian // November 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm // Reply

    By the way, Ministry of Diaspora is nothing but a bad joke – so anything coming out of this entity should not be taken seriously.

  33. Ara,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I just wanted to let you know (but you may already know), that there are organizations in Armenia that are doing exactly what you suggested needs to be done. I know that several months ago, the Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan (not to be confused with the Women’s Rights Center, which is another organization) went to the Mayor to get approval to post their posters all over the city. The content of the posters was a hotline that domestic abuse victims can call for help. This would not only have publicized this social service, but it would’ve made Armenians aware that (1) there is a serious, widespread problem of DV, and (2) it’s ok to want to get help. The mayor’s response: we don’t have a DV problem in Armenia. So, after the Women’s Resource Center provided lots of evidence, the Mayor said: well, you can’t put these posters around the city because it would make women fearful of leaving the house… In short, “our concern for women’s safety is why you can’t do this.” Unbelievable! That’s just one example. This and other orgs in Armenia are working very hard on this issue, and we can certainly buttress their work from the diaspora. I’d be happy to brainstorm together. My email address is Thank you! Peace.

  34. avatar Ara Nazarian // November 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm // Reply

    Dear Hasmig
    Thank you for your response.  I am very happy to know that there are orgs on the ground that do this work. We need to link up these organizations with resources from Diaspora to make things happen.  We’ll encounter many “luminaries” such as the Mayor and we’ll go around them to get the word out. We can have fundraisers in diaspora, get involvement from women’s orgs in diaspora to generate support and attention.  those thugs who engage in dv and the elements in the government that think it is ok to turn a blind eye must be embarrassed to corrective measures and action.

  35. Thanks Ara,Hasmig and all of you who care 
    Does anyone so far know what is the state of the killers (blessed her soul Zarohi) ? Is it possible to make it be announced loudly, about what happens or happened to them and her kit on a regular bases ?  Maybe then it will be taken as a very serious matter by some of ignorant, especially in Armenia, and stop it from happening again. 

  36. If such as Hranush continue in government, with her addlepated mentality,
    women in Haiastan will continue to suffer as second class citizens – as is the case in the uncivilized nations on the planet.  Armenians are conscious of the rights of all humans to advance be recognized – whether female or male.
    Those such as leading Haiastan’s government at this time are sadly of the ilk who still pursue the communist lifestyle… Those in power, usually the men,
    of course will not give up their power… still filling pockets… and to hell with all the great Haiastansi citizens whose rights they are destroying.  Hranush is of
    this leadership… and she doesn’t even know any better – sadly, can’t even
    speak up for the women of a Haiastan – doesn’t know how.  Only knows to enjoy a position of power – which she doesn’t even deserve – at all!
    P.S. this position shall be represented via the Diaspora, not Hranoush! M.

  37. Too, the generations of children who grow up to observe the treatment of their women family members, remember and add to the growing misconception that women do not deserve repect and treatment that all humans shall have.
    Children grow up and observe, remembering how their father treated their mother and take this to be ‘the way’ that they shall act when married and with their own families.  It is the generations/families which are continuing this obscene treatment of the woman, their mother is deserving.  It all starts in their homes, and too, in their schools, and too in their religion – all together
    to change this misquided and unnecessary killing of Zaruhi.  There shall be a
    law, named Zaruhi’s Law – anyone guilty of breaking this law shall face years of imprisonment – to avoid any other woman to follow our Zarhuhi! Too, for the loss the children of Zaruhi’s love and care. Manooshag

  38. In my humble opinion, I think that many of you are being too hard on her. She’s trying.

  39. Those are groundless accusations. The Minister’s words have nothing to do with domestic violence…. your accusations are absurd!

  40. Armen,
    Zaruhi’s husband was arrested, but not the mother-in-law. The petition that went around, which gathered more than 3000 signatures was sent to the Prime Minister. The petition calls for, among other things, the arrest and prosecution of the mother-in-law and husband, as well as the brother-in-law, who at the very least, witnessed many of the beatings. The Prime Minister’s office directed the letter to the Police, who have now made it part of the official record on Zaruhi. We don’t know what will come out of all of this, but at least, the views of 3000+ people are now in the hands of the police. They know we’re watching and that we’re aware.
    Ara Nazarian (who’s commented above) and I have been in touch to see what we can do to help from the Diaspora. There are organziations in Armenia working on this issue. In fact, there will be a protest (as there is every year) on Nov 25 against domestic violence and other abuses against women. This year, the Women’s Resource Center — the org that organizes this yearly protest — collaborated with a number of other NGOs, and are using Zaruhi as a symbol of the issue. I’ll be in touch with them to see how we can support their work. If you’re interested in getting involved, e-mail me at

  41. Hasmig, abuse of women starts in the home – children learn so much by what they see and hear… then apply this to their lives as adults:  Man shall command/abuse and the woman shall be accepting of this behavior!.   Why, women are capable and able to care for their families and more!  Does this mean that the man who abuses is incapable,thus able to abuse? 
    Guilty in all this are the churchmen, the teachers, too, the policeMEN who all add to the reasons for the death of our Zaruhi and so many more women. 

  42. Manoushag – As a Christian I say that I want the church to weigh in on these matters.  Christ loved women and championed their equality before God as lovers of God and as disciples in His ministry.  So WHERE is the Church in this???  We hear about the sacredness of family – well this is an evil that afflicts the institution of family and it needs to be addressed publicly and loudly from the Church – as does all abuse.

  43. Hasmig, abuse of women starts in the home – children learn so much by what they see and hear… then apply this to their lives as adults:  Man shall command/abuse and the woman shall be accepting of this behavior!.   Why, women are capable and able to care for their families and more!  Now, does this mean that the man who abuses is incapable to be kind and caring… thus the need to become an abuser for show?? Perhps too Zaruhi’s mother-in-law, had been abused… and continued such actions… to the mother of her own grandchildren, now motherless.  Sad.  This mentality was of the older folk of the villages… NOT to be allowed today in 2010 – esapecially in Haiastan, wlhere all the citizens are well educated certainly, hence is not a highly common occurance in Haiastan
    Yet, guilt lies too  with  churchmen,  teachers, policeMEN who inactions has lead to add as reasons for the death of our Zaruhi and abuse of  many more women.  Sadly.

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