Women in Armenia are facing troubling times. In January of this year, the Armenian government rejected a draft law on domestic violence – something human rights activists had been working on for over 7 years. The failure of passing a law on domestic violence means a lack of acknowledgment of the problem as well as lack of government funding for prevention and intervention services.
Fortunately, with organizations like the Women’s Support Center (WSC), help is available. Located in Yerevan, the WSC safe house offers group therapy, legal counseling and child care for victims of domestic violence. And with the support of donors like you we raised $23,426, closing the budget gap for one of only two women’s shelters in Armenia. Below is an interview we did with a woman who had entered the program in April. Take a moment to hear her story--and remember to do your part to acknowledge abuse and speak up for the silent.
In more recent news, Armenia adopted a gender equality law for equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women. This sparked a heated debate regarding the concept of gender, which in recent weeks has developed into campaigns that include outright threats against women’s organizations and activists. The anti-gender campaigns are using social media to spread their message. Videos have been circulating with distorted explanations of the concept of gender, among other things linking it to pedophilia and bestiality. The campaigns also mock and ridicule the work of LGBT and women’s rights activists. One of the Facebook pages encourages its followers to set fire to or in other ways attack supporters of the term gender, who are called “traitors of the nation”.
Women’s rights organizations like the Women’s Support Center and the Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan are calling on the global community to write letters of support and report these pages on Facebook. On October 1st, they’ll also be holding a 12-hour campaign - urging the government to keep its promise in passing domestic violence legislation and declaring that day the National Day to Combat Domestic Violence in Armenia. For more information on the event you can visit theFacebook event page.