Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Armenian woman raises voice on domestic violence

Interestingly enough, this was from the site 'Stop Honor Killings'

“If the day ends up without a fight and I have no blood on my body, I am happy that day,” says Varduhi Khachatryan, 47, resident of the village of Burastan in the Artashat region.

Such days are too few in Varduhi’s life. Seventeen years ago, while she was pregnant, her husband beat her with a stick. Varduhi gathered her things and fled to her parents’ home.

“My father did not accept me, he said: ‘Go, he is your husband. He may happen to beat you from time to time . . .’

“I had nowhere to run. I came back. From that time on, the day without beating is not a day,” says Varduhi.She is the mother of four. They witness the beatings and the mother says they, too, are the victims of her husband’s anger.

Yeranuhi Khachatryan is 12. She tells about a time when her father had thrown the mother downstairs from the first floor, then held his foot on her throat to strangle her.

“What can we do? We can’t escape; he will later catch us and kill us. We can’t call the police. It’s a shame. The neighbors will laugh at us,” says Yeranuhi.

Experts say such cases of violence against women in Armenia are widespread, but the traditional stereotypes do not allow women a proper recourse against them.

When we raise the question of violence against women in high places to pass a law, they say there is no such problem in Armenia; that it is artificially imported from foreign countries,” says Director of the Women’s Rights Center Susanna Vardanyan.

“We are even blamed for having sold ourselves to the foreigners and for making our traditionally strong families deteriorate.”

At least one Armenian scientist says the blame is legitimate.

Ethno-sociologist Mihran Galstyan, of the Institute of ethnography of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, says, too, that claims of domestic violence are exaggerated.

“Many organizations just extort grants from abroad, the foreign mediation into Armenian families is quite dangerous, if the woman is constantly told her husband has no right to reprimand on her, we will not have families,” says Galstyan.

Research favors the opinion that domestic violence is a serious issue.

Independent sociological survey center “Sociometer” conducted research in Yerevan and eight towns and eight villages. Among 1,200 women, 75 percent said they are victims of husbands’ violence. The survey also found that in one out of four cases, children witness the violence.

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