YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Bruises have covered much of her body, attesting to the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her husband over two decades. Even while carrying his child, he continued to beat her.
“I was pregnant when he once kicked me and I fell from my bed,” says the 43-year-old from the Armenian capital of Yerevan, adding that she now suffers from chronic health problems.
Requesting anonymity for fear of being targeted by more violence, she says she has nowhere to turn.
Family members discourage her from divorcing, fearing it would bring shame on them in Armenia, where traditional, conservative values hold sway in this mainly Christian country.
“I was probably not very strong,” she says, “But the main factor was my parents’ honor.”
Plus, she adds, she wouldn’t be able to afford to raise her three children alone if she left her husband.