Armenia's Domestic Violence Legislation is Overdue

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I was shaking from anger after watching a YouTube video (originally posted in Armenian) describing the 2-year abuse of a young woman that resulted in her death over a week ago. By now I should have been prepared not to shake from what has unfortunately become a pedestrian human rights abuse in my homeland – violence against women. But some words are worth thousands of pictures, and it was the words of Hasmik Petrosyan, a young woman from Armenia, describing the death of her 20-year-old sister Zaruhi at the hand of the latter’s husband and mother-in-law that got me feel nauseous. I did manage to put together a petition, though, and I hope that you will sign it.

You don’t need all the details to grasp my anger over Zaruhi’s death. Here is a summary. On September 30, 2010, Zaruhi Petrosyan, a 20-year-old mother of one from Masis, Armenia, was taken to a hospital for cranial brain hemorrhages, a broken finger, and bruises in different parts of her body. After saying her injuries were from a fall, Zaruhi died in Erebuni hospital. Zaruhi’s sister says the young mother was subjected to continuous domestic abuse since her marriage in 2008. Law enforcement allegedly knew of the abuse. According to media reports, Armenian police have arrested Zaruhi’s husband Yanis Sargisov. But, according to Zaruhi’s sister, Yanis Sargisov’s mother had also continuously beaten Zaruhi. A more detailed description in English (basically summarizing the video) is available at the Armenian Weekly.

Update: via Global Voices Online, here is the Armenian video with English subtitle:

What makes me angrier is Armenian government’s inaction on domestic violence even after international uproar a few years ago. In November 2008, Amnesty International issued a report on domestic abuse in Armenia stating that more than a quarter of women in Armenia have faced physical violence at the hands of husbands or other family members. Many of these women have little choice but to remain in abusive situations as reporting violence is strongly stigmatized in Armenian society.

Responding to Amnesty International’s report, Armenia’s government promptly promised to pass domestic violence legislation. That promise, however, has remained just a promise. For some Armenian parliamentarians, moreover, domestic violence legislation is out of line. A year before Amnesty International’s report, for instance, some local NGOs in Armenia found that about half of Armenia’s women had been subjected to physical brutality in the past year. An Armenian deputy, using blatant racism, stated that these non-profits simply seek grants and hurt Armenia’s image for the sake of their pockets: “They shouldn’t present Armenia as some African tribe where people eat each other,” he said.

Please join me in signing the petition to Armenia’s prime minister demanding that his government guarantee justice in the death of Zaruhi by investigating all possible guilty parties (not just the husband but also his brother and mother); investigating allegations of local law enforcement’s prior knowledge of Zaruhi’s continuous abuse; and expediting the passage of domestic violence legislation.

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8 thoughts on “Armenia's Domestic Violence Legislation is Overdue

  1. Dear Mr Maghakyan,

    i signed petition, commented, & clicked the "Sign" button, but there was no recognition of the process.

    Is the procedure working normally ?

  2. Dear Mr Maghakyan,

    i signed petition, commented, & clicked the “Sign” button, but there was no recognition of the process.

    Is the procedure working normally ?

  3. And yes.

    i was filled with fury and loathing at this spectacle of cop inaction ( read “acquiescence” ) & bureaucratic racism & indifference — which they hide under a “concern” for Armenia’s image … or the image of every other “country” where such brutalities are the order of the day.

    And these are the same authorities who call for recognition by another people & “country” of the genocide visited on theirs ….

    In “another” time.

  4. God-willing we can do in Armenia what we’ve done in America and legally define, and punish, anything that annoys or inconveniences women as a form of “Domestic Violence” or “harrasment.” Only then can we appropriately privelege and prioritize “violence” against women in accordance with the human rights that Amnesty International defends.

  5. A.Savage I totally agree with your stance on the issue of domestic abuse and how the authorities should handle it! However the genocide of the Armenians from Turkey is a completely different issue and you should not mix these two issues! Especially if you don’t know all the facts! Unless of course you are from Turkey and it suits you to take advantage of the domestic abuses in Armenia to justify the genicide commited by Turkey! Amnesty International should ask Turkey to admit all the genocides it has done so that the people who suffered then can even now be justified!

  6. Dear Marina,

    Your critique of my words is most welcome AND relevant !!

    It is my honor to respond to you.

    i wholeheartedly support the Armenian people’s cry that the genocide against them be acknowledged & recognized by Turkey & the world.

    That is, i myself acknowledge, recognize & denounce the genocide of the Armenian people committed by Turkey.

    And yes, i agree with you completely, the genocide & the violence against women are two very distinct & different issues. You are right !

    i was concerned about this fact of their difference when i raised the issue of genocide here.

    But i did.

    Why ?

    Because by doing so i condemn the hypocrisy of the political establishment in Armenia who raise the issue of genocide while being silent & indifferent to the issue of violence against Armenia’s women.

    By doing so i want to bring out the fact that the establishment in Armenia demands justice for their people historically WHILE ACTIVELY ENGAGING IN & BEING COMPLICIT IN the injustice & brutality that reigns in more than one house out of every four in Armenia.

    i especially highlight this hypocritical DUALITY because the uber – Armenian establishment cares more for your “national” image than for your women.

    It is this DUALITY i accuse & condemn.

    It is this DUALITY within the Armenian administrative superstructure, within the ruling political & national machinery in Armenia, that inseparably links these two issues today.

    For nothing is relative, but everything is related.

    i eagerly look forward to your further critique of my stand.