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Confronting Domestic Violence in Armenia

Special for the Armenian Weekly

Try if you can to put yourself in the position of a battered woman who awakens each morning praying that she can go through the day without another confrontation. You still have bruises from the violent episodes that seem to arise out of nowhere, without reason. The values instilled in you as a young girl fortify the expectation by your family and society and yourself that you should stay with your husband and be a good wife. You have no means to support yourself and with a small child to care for you decide, once again, to remain in an intolerable situation.

In Armenia, domestic violence is a serious problem that remains on the margins of national discourse. While opinions may vary, public consensus appears to be that domestic violence is either grossly exaggerated or that its revelation is an attack on the Armenian family, or an attempt to discredit the Armenian people. Numerous creditable studies, polls, interviews, and anecdotal accounts, by Armenian and international organizations, amply justify classifying domestic violence as a serious problem whose victims (women and children) suffer if not death, then a range of social, psychological, and medical problems. From any perspective, it is a situation that cannot be tolerated or denied away.

During the National Day observance, the Coalition moved from the abstract—simply naming victims—to displaying poster-size facial photos that allowed the public to realize that these victims were flesh-and-blood Armenian women.

During the National Day observance, the Coalition moved from the abstract—simply naming victims—to displaying poster-size facial photos that allowed the public to realize that these victims were flesh-and-blood Armenian women.

Fortunately, there are women and men in Armenia who have realized the extent and seriousness of this aberrant form of (usually) male behavior and the plight of its victims. The death in 2010 of 19-year-old Zaruhi Petrosyan, the mother of a two-year-old baby girl, brought to the public’s attention for the very first time the crime of domestic violence (her husband was found guilty of murder). Zaruhi became the first known victim. How many victims there were before her can only be surmised. Unfortunately, Zaruhi has not been the last victim. Her death was the catalyst that resulted in the formation of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women in Armenia (Coalition). Presently this Coalition has eight member organizations focusing not only on domestic violence, but issues such as sexual assault and human trafficking.

Annually, on Oct. 1 (the day Zaruhi’s body was discovered in 2010), the Coalition holds its National Day Against Domestic Violence in Armenia (National Day observance). This year marked the 4th annual National Day observance to inform and educate the Armenian public about domestic violence and to enlist them as well as the victims to speak out. To publicize this critical need for every Armenian to become involved by speaking out, the first of several planned public service announcements was entitled “Khoseer” (Speak). It was produced by the Coalition and the Armenia Media Group with the support of the United States Embassy and aired on television (see www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2XR182cUQA).

To witness or have knowledge of domestic violence and remain silent is unconscionable. Hopefully, the hapless victims, knowing that people are speaking out about this crime, will encourage them to seek help. Under any circumstance envisioned, it is not an easy decision for these women to make. They must be sure that when they leave, there will be a safe haven for them and their children. The public service announcements and the Oct. 1 National Day observance are important vehicles to enlist the public’s support to speak out and to bring domestic violence into the public discourse. It also conveys the message to these women that the opportunity does exist to obtain help in a safe and secure environment.

Progress can be cited. The recently formed Department for Family Matters by the Republic of Armenia’s police has, since 2009, indicated that reports of domestic violence have doubled. The head of police just recently (Oct. 9, 2014) issued guidelines for departments to take a proactive role to combat and prevent domestic violence. This awareness by the government is the direct result of civil society working diligently since 2010 to bring the issues of domestic violence, the rights of women, and the need to protect and provide support for victims into public discourse

As yet, there is no specific crime identified as “domestic violence,” and the reluctance of victims to come forward, and thus the number of incidences that are formally reported, fail to indicate its prevalence within society. When the victim files a complaint, it can be acted upon under a number of categories within Chapter 16 (Murder) of the Armenian Criminal Code. Guilty under one article may result in a shorter prison term as compared to a guilty verdict under another article. If the abused victim dies, Articles 104 or 105 or 109 or 110 could apply. If not death, then Article 118 (Battery) or 119 (Torture) or, depending on the extent of bodily harm inflicted, Articles 112 through 114 or 117 would be the cause of action. Since the penalties vary, the perpetrator would seek to be tried for the crime with the lesser stipulated penalty. As a result, the present criminal code inadvertently—or perhaps purposely—reinforces the mental pre-set of a society that is both skeptical and defensive as to the existence or prevalence of domestic violence in Armenia.

To pressure the government to include domestic violence as a specific crime in the Criminal Code, well over 1,000 cards were signed by the public in support of the Coalition's initiative.

To pressure the government to include domestic violence as a specific crime in the Criminal Code, well over 1,000 cards were signed by the public in support of the Coalition’s initiative.

To pressure the government to include domestic violence as a specific crime in the Criminal Code, well over 1,000 cards were signed by the public in support of the Coalition’s initiative. Having domestic violence legislated as a specific crime will accelerate the process of having the police, the courts, and the public be responsive to its existence, encourage victims to seek help, and create an administrative mind-set to address the extensive rehabilitative needs of its victims.

During the National Day observance, the Coalition moved from the abstract—simply naming victims—to displaying poster-size facial photos that allowed the public present on site or those watching television to realize that these victims were flesh-and-blood Armenian women, like themselves, or no different than women they might know.

Historically, our culture has rightly lionized the role of our women in peace and in war. They are the bearer of our children and their nurturers. They are the family caregivers and homemakers. And where opportunity has not been denied them, they have made their mark in the economic, political, cultural, and, yes, military fields. Think of the fedayee of decades past or the women who most recently fought in the war to liberate Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh). Those women remembered during the National Day observance—and whose deaths were the result of domestic violence—were Zaruhi Petrosyan, age 19 (2010); Maro Guloyan, age 20 (2012); Diana Nahapetyan, age 35 (2012); Lusine Davtyan, age 33 (2013); and Araksya Martirosyan, age 35 (2014). Accompanying the five photos was a silhouette of a woman’s face with a question mark and the caption, “Who will be next.” It should have read, “Who will be next that we may know about.”

When in Armenia this August, my daughter introduced me to Maro Matosian, the director of the Women’s Support Center (WSC) in Yerevan. The WSC was established in 2010 and is one of eight organizations that comprise the Coalition. The WSC is the only dedicated shelter in Armenia for victims of domestic violence and their children. Its personnel are trained by U.S. advocates and psychologists and, through its partnership with Jersey Battered Women’s Services, implements internationally approved methodology in responding to the needs of victims. The WSC provides a full range of professional services to enable these victims of domestic violence and their children to restart their lives. This may include legal and psychological counseling, medical referrals, obtaining necessary documents and government benefits, enrolling children in school, and assistance in finding a job. During a typical year, the WSC receives more than 300 hotline calls and in 2013 provided shelter to 35 women along with 42 underage children. The WSC’s social workers, lawyer, and child psychiatrist handle hundreds of cases and consultations. This does not include an additional 140 survivors of domestic violence that the WSC continues to serve. The victims of domestic violence do not shed the effects of their traumatization simply by escaping their hellish existence. The WSC provides the absolutely necessary transition period for these women (and their children), where fear gives way to trust and self-doubt gives way to self-confidence.

Domestic violence does exist in Armenia. Domestic violence is a serious problem. The dedicated women and men confronting this horrible crime need help. KHOSEER!

***
Maro Matosian, the director of the Women’s Support Center (WSC), is currently in the United States. On Fri., Nov. 21, from 8-10:30 p.m., she will present an overview of the work of the WSC, followed by a question and answer period, at the Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF), 441 Mystic Street, Arlington, Mass.

36 Comments on Confronting Domestic Violence in Armenia

  1. avatar Suzanne Swan // October 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm // Reply

    Because others speak out about domestic violence does not necessarily give victims support or help them in any way. Very often the fact that a woman has told others of her plight or indicates in any way that ‘outsiders’ know about it, can put her in much graver danger and incite more violence, beatings or worse. Too many cultures consider domestic violence a private or ‘personal’ matter and resent outsiders’ concerns.

    • Unfortunately, people who are in charge of bringing awareness to such issues in Armenian culture contest give the whole process a bad name.

      Most of these projects are funded by US Government, EU and “private” Western foundations. Instead of doing the hard work on the ground they just seem to follow US Presidential Observances Calendar to issue their press releases. So, it’s the beginning of Fiscal Year 2015 now and October is the first month which happens to be the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States, hence the press releases such as the above.

      Here is the full list that will help readers to figure out when to expect next buckets of negative information about Armenia coming this FY:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_observances_in_the_United_States_by_presidential_proclamation

      November: Military Family Month – prepare to read negative information about mistreatment of veterans and their families in Armenia

      December: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month – drunk driving habits in Armenia – may be substituted with articles to mark the World AIDS Day on December 1st to blame Armenia for having such a low rate of HIV infected.

      January: Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month – anti-trafficking coalitions field day to blame Armenia for not doing enough to prevent human trafficking in FSU.

      February: Black History Month – racism in Armenia

      March: Women’s History Month – unemployment and discrimination against Armenian women

      April: Prevent Child Abuse Month – will probably recycle parts of this current article

      April: National Sexual Assault Awareness Month – will probably recycle parts of this current article, but may be substituted for the expected proclamation of the Turkish American Friendship Month to be announced by the President on April 24.

      May: Older Americans Month
      May: Mental Health Awareness Month
      May: National Foster Care Month
      Abuse and neglect of all three categories in Armenia press releases

      June: Gay and Lesbian Pride Month – discrimination of LGBT community in Armenia

      June: Great Outdoors Month – destruction of Armenian National Parks by mining companies

      September: National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month – drug trafficking horror stories about Armenia

      October: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – new FY 2016 begins – press release recycling program starts saving US taxpayers trillions of electrons…

  2. avatar Molly Freeman // October 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm // Reply

    Congratulations for writing this comprehensive piece and for identifying the critical need for funds and activism to address the problems that lead to, exacerbate and result from the abuse of women and children.

  3. We claim for having several thousand years of civilization to see domestic violence against women. I have traveled to Yerevan several times and lived there long period, have noticed some men are pride hitting their wives. Unfortunately the mother of such men not only try to stop beating of their daughter in laws but sometimes they encourage it. Besides the serious punishment an educational program is a must. Hopefully this behaviour will be stopped.

  4. Sad to say that this crime is not just happening in Armenia. It’s everywhere, including here in America, and within the Armenian culture it happens all the time. I was once a victim and i wrote about it in my book…No more.
    It’s important to teach the young girls with the way to increase their self worth and at the same time empower the mothers. They deserve better.

  5. avatar Gaidzag Magdassian // October 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm // Reply

    Thank you so much for the above detailed article

  6. Well done on writing the article about Domestic Violence in Armenia. The Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) is one of the financial supporters of Women’s Support Center for victims of abuse. They do a saintly job in providing a haven for assistance toward all those who have no where else to turn. Our literature is full of praise and adoration for our mothers yet we fail to respect, caress and protect our spouses,
    our wives, the mothers of our sons and daughters. We have to understand that violence toward women (and in some cases men) and children is a violation of basic human rights. We cannot hide behind the silence. This is a social problem, and public awareness needs to demand a better explanation than “that’s just how things are.” We each have a responsibility to stand up and accept nothing less than changing legislation that recognizes domestic violence as a crime punishable by rules of law. I support the valiant efforts of all coalitions working to that end. Khoseenk.

  7. avatar Leo Manuelian // October 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm // Reply

    The problem of domestic abuse in Armenia is real and challenging to deal with. The article is well written but for one glaring error. “The WSC is the only dedicated shelter in Armenia for victims of domestic violence and their children.” This must have been misunderstood by the author. Maro is fully aware of the existence of the Armenian Charitable Lighthouse Foundation (ACLF) in the village of Ptghounk on the road to Etchmiadzin. This facility also offers housing, health care, vocational training, religious services, and protection to victims of domestic abuse and their children. Maro and I have discussed the work of the ACLF. We need at least ten more such facilities.

  8. Many factors here. Ignorance for one. Only an ignorant, uneducated person will beat his wife and take his frustrations out on her. Armenian macho culture. They should have tougher laws. If the guy is arrested he will think twice before doing it again (hopefully). And women should not put up with it and take some action. But that is easy to say. Women there accept it as a normal way of life. Very sad indeed…..

    • avatar Yerevanian // October 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm //

      “Only an ignorant, uneducated person (man) will beat his wife and take his frustrations out on her. Actually, there happen to be just as many highly educated men out there who also beat their wives.

      And what does being a macho Armenian man have to do with wife-beating? Yes, there are numerous macho Armenian men out there who beat their wives; on the other hand, there are also many more macho Armenian men out there who don’t beat their wives. And for your own education, wife-beating does not exist only in Armenia. It exists in all the countries including the United States. As a matter of fact, in addition to wife-beating, husband-beating is also a problem in the macholess United States. At least over in macho Armenia, husband-beating doesn’t exist.

  9. It is unfortunate, not just the ignorant and educated person would harm their Female partners, but also the well versed and well educated person would the same or even worse to harm their wives or their children. There are many reasons why a Men would raise his hand to a weaker being and there is not one single answer for this. In the country I live, the government and the Mental Health organizations came up with the idea to advertize in the major Media groups that when your male friends tells you they bit their partners You as a friend “tell him that you do not want to be friends with a wife abuser”. This is good but not “the answer”. The world is going through a very hard times and people are under a lot of pressures both in the home and out of home. I am a mental health practitioner as in Counseling/Psychotherapy and find that having a constructive and helping conversations (without shaming them) will do plenty of good. People need to be “Motivated to have a Conversation” with people who can help them and I mean professionals who are there to extend a hand in crucial moments when Life is unpleasant some times. To encourage people to have a conversation about their relationships with their partner. many people keep quiet because they are either afraid or can’t see clearly what she or he can do. To teach people about the choices we make in choosing a partner. I understand that sometimes people have no choices and others make choices for them or unfortunately Emotional Love comes in and makes a choice for them. This is not an easy issue to write about, because as I said it is not a straight road so you can see or have all the answers. It will be very helpful to have for example a day to have a “National Conversation” about the issue. For example, in papers, TV, Twitter and encourage people to come forward and speak about their experiences and when we encourage them we must also “create an Environment of Safe and protected by the Law so the abusing partner or the person would know that the very next violent step they take it will be Prison.
    I did not mean to write this long but thought I share it with you. So, as an Armenian I care what happens in Armenia and to Armenian Women. However, I also care to all the Women of the world who go through this everyday.

  10. THIS proofs the fact that Armenia is changing in to right direction.
    20 years ago this would have been out of order to discus such a delicate matter

  11. avatar Sosy Kevonian // October 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm // Reply

    A 15 yr old boy visits his grandma in the village, the 60 yr old grandma rushes with a bucket of hot water,kneels and starts washing the boys feet. I was appalled turned to the mother and said,your mother is washing his feet?” Oh yes she said, he’s the “MAN” of the house she won’t let anyone else do it.Another example,a 21 yr old young girl, a student,has to go to the opera with her class, a class project,the instructor asks the mother, oh I have to ask Levon she replies he’s the “MAN” of the house and he decides. Levon is the fourteen yr old brother. I think our effort should also be directed at educating the mothers and make them understand what is it they’re doing wrong and stop treating their sons as God given gifts to humanity.

  12. avatar Sharke' Der Apkarian // October 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm // Reply

    Thank you for bringing this tragedy to the forefront. Please contact me as I would like additional info .

  13. avatar Vart Adjemian // October 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm // Reply

    This is very gut wrenching, disheartening and painful to read.
    Domestic violence is a crime not only perpetrated by uneducated , ignorant people and it is wrong to associate it with Armenian macho culture. They come in all layers of societies regardless of their educational,financial backgrounds and status in the society. These people are cowards and mentally weak and sick.
    We should all, if possible, support organizations like the WSC and ACLF. I am sure there are other unknown organizations that we might not be aware of. These organizations are indispensable not only for the support , shelter and assistance they provide, but also the role they should and could play to educate and improve the moral fiber of society.
    One of the most basic responsibilities of a Government is to insure the safety of its citizens and protect their basic human rights. Domestic violence is an intolerable and unacceptable crime committed against the helpless.
    The Government of RoA should amend/introduce/change the legislation and the criminal code that beyond any reasonable doubt or excuse recognizes domestic violence as a crime with the appropriate punishment in sentencing. This has to do nothing with politics .
    No Armenian wife, sister, mother or daughter should be subjected to abuse of anykind from anyone. We should love and respect them period.
    Vart

  14. Thank you Ella for clarifying the fact that ALCF exist since 2011.It is ALCF for Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation.It is 10,000 sq feet of shelter that houses 25 women and 30 children victims of domestic violence. Maro is very well aware of it and has been there herself.
    It is an open shelter where you can visit see the facility.We have Psychologist on staff,dentist and Gynecologist service for the residents.
    WE teach them Manicure,pedicure,working in a green house for the one’s that live in villages,cooking,sewing, English language conversation and computers,to assist them to find work and be independent if they choose not to return to their husbands.Although we work with the members of the family to assist in mending relationships not to break a home.

  15. Sorry it was Leo Manuelian that corrected the fact that ALCF exists and thank you Leo ,they visit our facility yearly with his lovely wife and groups of young men and women that come to Armenia through Fuller Center.

  16. If only Armenia’s Sorosista* feminists succeeded in eliminating those brutish Armenian men of Armenia (“ Armenian macho culture. “), and substituting them with cultured Western/Euro men – ooh la la – then all these DV problems in Armenia would disappear. Paradise at last.

    Let’s examine the myriad choices Armenia’s ladies have (…discarding those RoA macho brutes, of course):

    American men ? (cntry pop ~ 300-310 million).
    Sorry: In 2010, in the United States there were 1,800 females murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents**.
    In 2013 there were about 1,300 murders: but the overall murder rate in US has been declining, so……no cigar.
    btw: Higher per capita DV murder rate than RoA.
    In non-macho American culture.

    Swedish men ? (cntry pop ~ 9 million).
    {…An estimated 16 women a year are killed by their husband or partner, and only a fraction of the cases involving assaults, rape, a breach of a restraining orders or ongoing abuse are prosecuted.} (New York Times, Lizette Alvarez, 2005).
    {The number of cases where partner violence has resulted in death has remained stable since the early 1990s. During the period 1990-2004, the average number of women (over the age of 15) dying from partner violence is 17 per year. Compared to the period of 1971-1980, this represents a decrease from a yearly average of 21 cases per year.} (Source: EUCPN (European Crime Prevention Network) http://www.eucpn.org)
    btw: Higher per capita than RoA.
    In Sweden ? The Nordic non-macho feminist paradise ? Where men are not as hot-tempered as those, you know, wild macho-culture Caucasus/Armenian men ?
    Oj herre Gud!

    More:
    [Sweden stands out in domestic violence study] (‘The Local’, Sweden’s News in English. Mar 5, 2014)
    {A new EU review of violence against women has revealed that one in three European women has been assaulted, and one in twenty has been raped, with the Scandinavian countries at the top of the league tables.}
    {In Sweden, 81 percent of women said they had been harassed at some point after the age of 15 – compared to the EU average of 55 percent. After Sweden, which had the highest rate, Denmark, France, the Netherland and Finland all saw rates above 70 percent. The EU member state with the lowest rate – 24 percent – was Bulgaria.}
    Oj herre Gud!

    France ? (cntry pop 62 million)
    In 2011, 122 women were murdered by their partner (…and 24 men were murdered).
    In highly cultured France ?
    Mon Dieu !

    How about we look at Europe in general:
    According to west-info.eu website, an estimated 12 women are killed due to gender-related violence in Europe every day.
    So, 12@day x 365days = 4,380 murders @ year. (pop 500 million ?)
    Ouch. Higher than US per capita ? Hard to believe.
    I guess European men are out too.

    If you believe those public domain DV numbers, those savage Armenian men of Armenia apparently are not so savage after all, when compared to non-macho Euro men, who are supposedly properly feminized and cultured.

    Maybe Euro women should marry Armenian men: a lot safer being married to Armenian men, if those numbers in public domain I cited above are accurate.

    And sadly, more bad news for you ladies.
    Even if you eliminate men (….fun to fantasize about, ladies, No ?) , there is no respite from domestic violence.
    According to a 2013 (American) CDC study, 46% of lesbian women had been with a violent partner vs 43% for straight women (in US).

    So the solution is obvious: live alone.
    That will work.


    * Maro Matosian’s Women’s Resource Center “receives support from the Open Society Foundation-Armenia, a part of the Soros foundations network.” (Source: http://www.eurasianet.org). In other words, it is a Soros front organization. Interesting that the article failed to mention that.

    ** Among these incidents 94 percent of victims knew the offender, and more than 65 percent of female homicide victims were the wives or intimate partners of their killers}([Domestic Violence Is Murder] Wendy Pollack, HuffPost 11/09/2012)

  17. Armenian soldiers KIA in 2014* by Azerbaijan.

    2014, Jan 19: Armen Hovannisyan, 20.
    2014, Jan 28: Garen Galstyan, 19.

    2014, Mar 20: Armen Ghukasyan, 20.
    2014, Mar 24: Garnik Torosyan, 22.
    2014, Mar 25: Garnik Torosyan, 22
    2014, Mar 27: Arayik Babayan, 19.
    2014, Mar 27: Hautyun Safaryan (age unknown)

    2014, May 21: Artur Ohanjanyan, 20.
    2014, May 26: Garik Balayan (age unknown)

    2014, June 5: Andranik Yeghoyan, 26.
    2014, June 5: Boris Gasparyan, 22.
    2014, June 24: Armen Avetisyan, 19.

    2014, July 18: Gevorg Avagyan, 20.
    2014, July 28: Khachatur Basdasyan, 20.
    2014, July 31: Azat Asoyan, 20.
    2014, July 31: Ararat Khanoyan, 20.

    2014, Aug 2: Zork Gevorkyan, 25.

    2014, Sep 3: Aram Grigoryan, 43.
    2014, Sep 18: Mher Hakobyan, 24.

    2014, Oct 3: Mher Hakobyan, 24.

    ՈՎ Է ՀԱՋՈՐԴԸ


    * the list is incomplete: it is being updated.

    • avatar Random Armenian // November 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm //

      Avery I completely agree with you. It’s outrageous that these young soldiers are defending Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian women on these lands and yet some men, behind the borders guarded by these soldiers, have the audacity to hurt and even kill our sisters, mothers and daughters. Totally outrageous.

      These soldiers aren’t loosing their lives over lands, mountains and rocks.

    • avatar Random Armenian // November 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm //

      “These soldiers aren’t loosing their lives over lands, mountains and rocks.”
      that should read “These soldiers aren’t *just* loosing their lives …”

    • First Lieutenant Harutyun Garniki Safaryan was born in 1987.

  18. avatar Vart Adjemian // November 1, 2014 at 11:24 am // Reply

    Domestic violence is a serious issue in many countries and societies.
    No decent person can condone domestic violence, defend it or try to find reasons to justify it. It is irrelevant to compare what is happening in Armenia to other countries . Domestic violence in Armenia, like all countries that face the problem, should be confronted and discussed and solutions found.
    It is sad and tragic that we have had so many brave Armenian men killed in action due to the conflict with the rogue state of Azerbaijan. However their ultimate sacrifice has absolutely nothing to do with perpetrators of domestic violence in Armenia. I do not see the connection.
    Avery, sorry but I do not see where you are coming from or arguing about.
    Vart Adjemian

  19. Avery, you seem offended that anyone would shine a light on the problem of domestic abuse in Armenia. I guess you think it makes Armenia look bad. Actually, I am happy to see the issue raised, as it indicates that our society is growing toward more equality for all. Violence toward women, which is based on the need to preserve an unequal power dynamic where ‘men’ are superior to ‘women’ simply because of gender, is unacceptable. I hope you don’t think that Armenian traditions and family cohesiveness can’t exist unless the man ‘rules the roost.’ It certainly can and has in the majority of Armenian households. But let’s not turn a blind eye to cruelty and abuse directed toward wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, just to protect the image of the Armenian man.

    Armenian men killed in action deserve our appreciation and admiration. But that doesn’t mean that we should overlook criminal acts committed by our men against our women. If the laws in Armenia regarding domestic violence are not well defined, then they need to be rewritten and the criminal codes need to be clarified. If the work of Maro Matiossian and the ACLF helps encourage Armenian society to work toward equal protection under the law for all citizens regardless of gender and marital status, then I whole-heartedly support their efforts.

    Long live the strong Armenian family ethic based on macho men who see their role as provider and protector of their precious families. But down with macho men who define their worth as a man based on their ability to keep a foot on the throat of the women in their lives.

    Let the light shine on our dark spots and help us to be a nation that values every citizen equally. We will be better for it.

  20. I personally would never raise my hand on any women. With that said, I much rather have a few slapped around women in Armenia than have a nation full of women who don’t want to have children, who are alcoholic, drug addicted and sexuality deviant. How many American women are murdered by their pimps, boyfriends and husbands every year? How many American girls are pushed into drugs and prostitution every year? How many American girls run away from home every year? How many American girls disappear every year? What is the divorse rate in the US? That is abuse! Treating women like sex objects is abuse. I suggest Amerika-Hays take a good look at how their girls are being raised in the US. In comparison, girls in Armenia are doing just fine.

    • avatar Random Armenian // November 4, 2014 at 11:00 am //

      “I much rather have a few slapped around women in Armenia than have a nation full of women who don’t want to have children, who are alcoholic, drug addicted and sexuality deviant.”

      Why is this one or the other? How about not having all of the things you mentioned.

      I have been to Armenia and there are issues there for women like any country. There is pressure and expectation to marry and marry fairly early. There is also prostitution as well, make no mistake about it.

      And these issues need to be discussed as the first step to improving conditions.

      My understanding of how things are based on my visits to Armenia and talking to relatives as well as talking to hayastantsi women who have moved to the US. And they do feel less pressure in the US.

      Yeah, I don’t think drug addiction is an issue in Armenia for women (I don’t know for sure but my impression is that it’s not). But just because women in Armenia don’t have the exact same issue as in the US in the same level does not mean there are no issues in Armenia that still affect women there. Some issues are greater in one country than another.

  21. The Armenian culture, like many in the neighboring countries, is male-dominated and I think this is mainly because the men traditionally have been the breadwinners in the family and with that comes power and control. However, unlike many cultures in the neighborhood where women are put down and practically considered and treated as 2nd class citizens, the women in the Armenian culture are generally put on a pedestal and always encouraged to achieve their best in whatever drives their interests.

    So in that sense we have a rather open culture with equal rights among the two genders. Ironically, despite some of these great qualities, we still tend to have a culture that is hierarchical on the basis of gender in different aspects of our lives, domestically in particular. These days, even though many of our women are part of the work force and economically contribute to their families and married lives, that economic power realized and attained by them hardly, if at all, gives them any advantage with respect to their hierarchical roles as learned and dictated by our culture.

    What is left here is love and respect and if these two qualities are absent from the marriage then the male domination, based on cultural hierarchy and stereotype, will most likely manifest itself through verbal and in some rare cases even through physical abuse in absence of cultural sensitivity as well as societal condemnation by means of established laws to punish the offender in such abusive acts.

    If the marriage and the relationship between couples is not truly based on mutual understanding, respect, love and equality and is primarily based on cultural stereotypes, i.e. men lead and women follow, then it is highly likely that women will be treated as objects when problems arise and it is a lot easier to mistreat an object than someone you love, respect and care for. A truly lasting, peaceful, amiable and loving marriage is a partnership not a role play.

  22. I love your last paragraph Ararat .I am Seta who is the Founder of ALCF and have a shelter 10.000 sq feet of it for abused and neglected women and children in Ptghunk village Armavir Marz.I want to tell you all that it is the women that allow the men to treat them this way as they are 98% of them not married civil or church marriage.WE go through a lot of Psychological therapy to strengthen them ,to feel self worth to ask to be married and ask to be treated better and sometimes we achieve that. Women have a large roll in the way they are treated unfortunately most are from orphanages and have no mothers to teach them and out of desperation they jump into relationships for the wrong reasons.

    • Thanks for the compliment. I pulled up some articles from Asbarez on Paros “Lighthouse” Foundation and the great work you are doing. That’s wonderful and inspiring. I think it is very important that these women learn to do things the proper way to regain their self-worth and dignity. Keep up the good work!

  23. I am grateful to learn from Gurgen that the thing keeping women in Armenia from becoming alcoholic, drug addicted, sexual deviants is a few well-placed slaps. I had no idea the burden that Armenian men carried to protect Armenian society from the evil wrought by the weaker sex. Now I see why they are called the weaker sex. Thank God for Armenian men who accept their responsibility and are brave enough to keep their women pregnant and in line.

  24. avatar Random Armenian // November 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm // Reply

    Here’s another issue in Armenia to be addressed: suicide

    http://www.eurasianet.org/node/70886

    A few years ago I remember reading on Armenian news websites about suicides.

    Is this also something to be ignored and buried under suicide statistic from other countries? Or an effort to be put to reduce the rates and save the lives of Armenians?

    • {“ Is this also something to be ignored and buried under suicide statistic from other countries?”}

      You reinforce yet again your Turkophile, Anti-RoA credentials.
      You went out of your way to dig up dirt on Armenia, again.
      As you have done over many years posting @AW.

      Suicide is a terrible thing. It is a universal tragedy for humankind.
      But you and Marianna Grigoryan of Eurasianet (latter two well known Anti-RoA mouthpieces) attempting to establish a cause-and-effect link between economic situation in RoA to suicide rates is despicable.

      We don’t bury problems in Armenia under statistics from other counties.
      But when individuals and NGOs deliberately make mountains out of molehills when it comes to Armenia, with the intention of causing demoralization and damage to Armenia, then we have no choice but to point out for all to see that the particular issue being exaggerated in Armenia with ill intent, is much worse in other counties, and is being deliberately ignored to paint Armenia in the worst light possible. Truly despicable.

      While Armenian warriors are being KIA defending Armenian people from extermination at the hands of Turks and Turkbaijanis, people who incongruously present themselves as ‘caring’ about people of Armenia are working diligently to undermine the foundations.
      Truly despicable.

      Regarding suicides.
      Statistics from several counties:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

      You will note that, Lithuania, for example, a very prosperous country in the middle of EU is #2 on the list of suicides per 100,000 people.
      Study the list: then come back and try to throw the same dirt at Armenia again. (Armenia is waaay down on the list)
      So clearly Ms. Grigoryan ‘s conjecture is false: she knows it is false. You know it is false. But you guys are still disseminating it to cause demoralization of people in RoA.
      Won’t work.

    • avatar Random Armenian // November 13, 2014 at 10:03 am //

      “We don’t bury problems in Armenia under statistics from other counties.”

      And that’s exactly what you just did.

    • avatar Random Armenian // November 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm //

      There are many reasons for suicide, and the economy is one of the. Armenia’s economy is not the best. So many have left the country because of it. In case you haven’t noticed Armenia’s population is not increasing, and even decreasing. This is an existential issue for Armenia.

      You have to remember that Lithuania is up north where it’s well known that the weather and less sunlight has an effect on depression. Armenia has more sunlight

      According to the articles I found through the wiki link you posted, one of the reasons for the high suicide rate has been the economic depression along with the weather.

      http://www.ilovelithuania.com/profiles/blogs/why-lithuanian-suicide-rates
      http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/6210/#.VGTf-_nF-Lg

      Russia, with it’s own economic and other issues is up there on the list as well.

      There is poverty and economic issues in Armenia. You can’t ignore this, and you can’t ignore it as one reason for the suicides.

      You’d think that for a patriot like you, any level of suicide and domestic violence in Armenia would be too much. But instead you ignore it and attack those who want to shed light on it and improve Armenian society as a whole. You don’t see the irony in all this? A patriot who loves his Armenian nation and people attacking others who want a better Armenia.

      Note that according to the article, the suicide rate is increasing. Does this not concern you?

      This is the problem with nationalists and loud patriots, they can’t handle problems within their societies because it’s somehow counter to their image of the nation or people they belong to. They are concerned with external threats but not internal.

    • avatar Random Armenian // November 16, 2014 at 1:49 am //

      Another thing.

      “But you and Marianna Grigoryan of Eurasianet (latter two well known Anti-RoA mouthpieces) attempting to establish a cause-and-effect link between economic situation in RoA to suicide rates is despicable.”

      Nowhere did I mention a connection between the economy and the suicide rate. And frankly Ms Grigoryan does not herself say that the economy is definitely the issue. She quotes several people in the article with diverse takes on the issue. And she put this in her article:

      “One government statistician urged caution in trying to pinpoint causes for Armenia’s increase in suicides. “The number of suicide attempts and suicides is increasing, but the reasons are so various that it is extremely difficult to name a specific one,” said Karine Kuyumjian, head of the National Statistical Service’s Census and Demography Department. “This situation needs serious study.””

      Why would she quote someone from the National Statistical Service’s Census and Demography Department saying that it’s difficult to pin down any one cause for the suicides.

      Note that according to the article, the suicide rate was 768 for 2013. I believe that’s more than the number of Armenian soldiers killed by Azeris.

      What really gets my goat sometimes is how some people react like you when faced with internal and frankly very uncomfortable issues such as DV and suicide. There is something about these subjects that they just can’t deal with. And such attitudes hinder progress.

      Talking about social issues in Armenia makes one anti-RoA and a Turkophile? What a silly concept.

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