Perceptions of Domestic Violence in ArmeniaBy: Sylva Kakoussian | Posted on: 10.02.2012
Living in a country where women are considered equal, and where domestic violence is not tolerated, it is difficult to understand how domestic violence is a casual topic in Armenian television shows.
Recently an article was posted on the Armen Karo website entitled “Armenian TV Series Glamourise Domestic Violence” which sheds light on the issue of domestic violence and how it is perceived in Armenia. After reading the article and doing research on the case of Zaruhi Petrosyan it is clear that there is much to be done for women’s rights in Armenia. The article discussed how popular television shows depict a woman as being inferior to a man, and how men are able to control women with violence. The question remains whether portraying violence against women as an everyday occurrence on popular television shows further enforces the social acceptance of using violence to control a woman.
A related article, written by Nanore Barsoumian (“Domestic Abuse? What Abuse? … She Fell and Died!”), is an extensive documentation of the murder case of Zaruhi Petrosyan and also touches on the issue of the Armenian government’s denial of there being domestic violence, and tolerance of such actions. Over one year has passed since Zaruhi’s passing, but her death was not in vain. An initiative by the United Nations Population Fund called “Combating Gender Based Violence in the South Caucaus” project was established to respond to the issue of domestic violence. Their website is a good source to get a better understanding of gender based violence in Armenia and what they have done to campaign against it. It is encouraging to see that impartial, non-Armenian groups, such as the UNPF, are willing to assist Armenia, in order to cultivate a safe environment where men and women can be considered equal.
I remember when I was a high school student and how entire classes would participate in annual walks protesting violence against women. Prior to these demonstrations there would be class discussions and lectures about violence against women. It is difficult to believe that in this day and age there are still countries where domestic /gender based violence is considered a social norm. How would a protest similar to one I have participated in be perceived in Armenia? With initiatives such as that by the UNPF, women’s rights may no longer be considered a taboo subject in Armenia.