March to Stop Violence Against Women Held in Yerevan

Civil society in Armenia is getting more and more active. We recently noticed various actions and protests by environmental groups to save the Trchkan waterfall, or protests by activists against non-combat deaths in the army and their cover-up. Lately we’re seeing the increased work of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women in Armenia (

The anniversary of Zaruhi's death commemorated.

The coalition is a networks of seven NGOs formed following the tragic death of Zaruhi Petrosyan, 20, in 2010. Their goal is to defend and support women and victims of abuse; raise public awareness of violence against women and change existing mentalities towards domestic violence; and advocate for change in legislature that deals with violence against women.

The coalition was relieved when Zaruhi’s husband received the maximum sentence allowed under the present law—10 years of imprisonment. Coalition members, volunteers, and supporters were present at all of the trail sessions, and in large numbers, ready to inform the media and the public through Facebook and e-media articles on the developments of the trial.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of Zaruhi’s death, coalition members organized a vigil in the center of Yerevan. The coalition has also begun training journalists on how to cover domestic violence in their articles. Journalists, like society at large, must be informed on what domestic violence is—its dynamic and characteristics. A fundamental principle in covering domestic violence in the media is the protection of the victim and closely following confidentiality codes. The coalition is organizing the training with the British Embassy of Armenia.

USAID also organized a conference on domestic violence, during which Antranig Kasbarian presented a well-received presentation on behalf of the Tufenkian Foundation Women’s Support Center. To read more, visit

The coalition has also opened its doors to other organizations to join forces and expand the network. On Nov. 25, on the occasion of the upcoming International Day to Stop Violence Against Women, one of the coalition members, the Women Resource Center (WRC), is organizing a march. This is a tradition with the WRC that has been growing over the years. Events like these are aimed to raise awareness among the population on women’s issues and rights.

Maro Matosian, the country director of Armenia and Karabagh at the Tufenkian Foundation, sees many of the societal problems in Armenia stemming from the patriarchal values in our society. “When women are not empowered and do not know their rights, they become useless and hopeless. When in Armenia the local TV soap operas demean and belittle women, then society through popular culture already perceives them as second-class citizens. No wonder we now read in the news that a governor hit a woman at the Yerevan Marriott Hotel in public. Or that another government official threw his daughter-in-law in the street and keeps the children away from her. Or that a woman was stabbed seven times in front of a civil court judge by her husband.”

“Such instances, when abusers do not even have fear of punishment or they don’t care about public opinion, indicate a high level of tolerance in society towards abusing women,” she says. “This is why as mothers and women we need to stand up for our rights so that we may gain respect in society.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.