By Edmond Y. Azadian
A recent incident of domestic violence in Armenia once again highlighted a societal fault-line. Indeed, a 27-year-old woman, Zaruhi Petrosyan, was beaten to death by her husband, Yanis Sarkisov, and his mother; the police in the Masis region had failed to respond to the pleas of the victim and her sister.
This type of domestic violence is a daily occurrence in Armenia and it goes unreported for a number of reasons.
However, the irony is that there was more outrage in the Diaspora than in Armenia. And we were surprised not to find any warnings in the Yerevan press to the Diaspora Armenians stating: “stay away from our bedrooms.” Because on many occasions, Diaspora Armenians have been asked politely and sometimes bluntly, that “your help is welcome but not your meddling into our internal affairs.” Yet Diaspora Armenians continue meddling in Armenia’s affairs, because they believe Armenia is the homeland of all Armenians and it has to be helped in order to become irreproachable. For those of us living in the West, it is hard to digest — and live with — the fact that in Armenia, domestic violence is still considered a private family matter and not a crime.
Domestic abuse is rampant in Armenia and the root causes are many: value system, history, Islamic/Turkish influence and the current socioeconomic factors.
In the Muslim-Turkish society, which for years dominated Armenia, women are treated as chattel or at best, the property of the dominant male, except perhaps in metropolitan areas closer to Europe. In many Islamic countries, men can officially marry up to four wives and divorce them at will.