Los Angeles Armenians March Against Domestic Violence

Hundreds march in honor of murdered 20 year-old Zaruhi Petrosyan

Marchers read stories from abused women in Armenia. Photo Credit: Nora Yacoubian

HOLLYWOOD, CA—More than two hundred men and women gathered in Little Armenia on Sunday for a march to end violence against women, organized by the United Human Rights Council of the Armenian Youth Federation. Activists marched in memory of Zaruhi Petrosyan, a twenty year old mother who was brutally murdered by her husband and mother-in-law in October and to demand the just prosecution of all responsible parties.

The march took place despite incessant morning rain, just hours before a solidarity protest took take place in front of the Armenian Prosecutor-General’s office in Yerevan, organized by the The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women.

The Coalition was formed following Petrosyan’s death and consists of 7 member organizations: Society without violence, Women’s support program/ Tufenkyan foundation, Women’s Rights Center, Pink Armenia, Zangagatun, Women’s Resource Center, and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Yerevan.

Angered Armenians in the Diaspora and within Armenia demand that the government pass comprehensive domestic violence legislation and work to prevent and punish familial violence. The Coalition has pledged to closely monitor Zaruhi’s case and continue to organize demonstrations in Armenia and the Diaspora to ensure a just trial and proper punishment for the perpetrators.

“Unfortunately it took this terrible incident to truly wake us up and acknowledge the magnitude effects of domestic violence on our people,” stated UHRC Chairperson Sanan Shirinian. “While the death of Zaruhi Petrosyan is a great tragedy, we must see her life and her suffering as a desperate call to bring about change within our social structures, change within our mindsets and change within Armenia’s legal system.”

Narine Jallatyan, a representative of the UHRC, spoke about the lessons Armenians can learn from women’s movements throughout history. She stressed that any problems plaguing Armenia are also problems of the Diaspora. Jallatyan urged the communities to take action to address domestic violence in the homeland and locally as well.

Representing the Armenian Relief Society – Western Region, Nyree Derderian highlighted the importance of empowering women. She commended the AYF for their efforts in bringing attention to one of the most critical social issues facing Armenian women. Linda Qassabian of the YWCA of Glendale spoke about her emotional experiences counseling victims of domestic violence for the past 3 years. She stated that she continues to be saddened by the number of Armenian women that enter the shelter.

During the march, activists paused to read aloud testimonials from victims of domestic violence in Armenia.  These emotionally charged stories conveyed the message that the violent behavior against women can no longer be overlooked and no longer tolerated.

“Many refuse to confront the issue because they don’t want to break up the strong family unit,” explained UHRC member Nora Kayserian. “What they fail to realize, however, is the psychological consequences that violence causes in families. When violence becomes part of the daily lives of families, children begin to view it as normal behavior. Growing up in such a hostile environment is likely to cause a child to resort to violent behavior during their adult years, thus resulting in a cycle of violence.”

“This is a small step that we have made together to ensure justice for one innocent victim, Zaruhi, who will remain in our hearts. This is also a small step to raise awareness and bring change in our communities here and in our homeland,” said marcher Gev Iskajyan.

The United Human Rights Council (UHRC) is a committee of the Armenian Youth Federation. By means of action on a grassroots level, the UHRC works toward exposing and correcting human rights violations of governments worldwide, and aims to foster dialogue and collaboration between peoples who share this common vision.

For more information, visit UnitedHumanRights.org or follow the UHRC on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook.com/unitedhumanrights, Twitter.com/uhrc


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  1. Ray2447 said:

    What about all the men who are victims of women’s domestic violence? Women’s domestic violence against men is grossly under reported, while male victims are still routinely being ignored by the taxpayer funded domestic violence industry. Credible research overwhelmingly shows that the ratio of domestic violence is at least 50/50 between women & men. Go to Fiebert Bibliography. According to one study by researchers who work at the CDC, in 70 percent of domestic violence incidents, where the d.v. is not mutual, it’s women who initiate the d. v. Go to Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting. Click on the link under the red & blue pie chart. D.v. law follows a gender feminist agenda over facts & does great harm to many innocent men & also many violent women. Go to Youtube, “Los Misandry.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAmOxvudpF8

  2. Ray2447 said:

    What about little children? Deaths of little children, killed by their mothers is egregious, yet the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry disingenuously tries to make us believe that women don’t abuse men too. According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services and DOJ statistics, more kids are killed by neglect and abuse in a year (1,760 in 2007), than all the female intimate partner homicides in a year. Mothers are the single largest group of kid killers, according to HHS, and they have a rate twice that of fathers. Nowhere near the money is spent to protect kids from kid killing mothers as is spent by the domestic violence industry to protect women. The taxpayer funded d.v. industry is a bastion of misandrist vilification, falsely accusing men of being the overwhelming cause of d.v., and empowering violent women to commit further domestic violence. The corruption of the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry is characterized in “Los Misandry” at Youtube.

  3. Ray2447 said:

    Domestic violence will never end as long as the whole truth about it is misrepresented to comply with feminist ideology. V.P. Biden recently called violence against women, “the very worst abuse.” The very worst abuse is valuing one life less than another for having been born the wrong gender. Under domestic violence law, the wrong gender is men. Shelter and services are virtually non-existent for male victims of domestic violence. Options out of a bad relationship, that women have, are often not available to men. Men wind up gender profiled and falsely accused by the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry, because of gender feminist ideology controlling the d.v. industry. Men are often battered by domestic violence, and then battered again by the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry as shown in “Los Misandry” at Youtube.

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  5. Dagop said:

    Ray2447 your comments are interesting, But I think you should give BIG credit to United Human Rights Council of the Armenian Youth Federation too.

  6. Jack2222 said:

    How great is Domestic Violence!!! If your a lawyer and you represent falsely accused men more than 70% of the time. They are usually the ones with the jobs to pay the lawyers, and that my friend is a money wagon that stereotypes push through now till the end of time. What can I say? Unless you have a video tape of your wife or girlfriend relentlessly hitting you before you touch her than your guilty until proven innocent.

  7. Hripsime said:

    Some men’s reaction to Justice and equality between men and women is strange!!! Ray are not you digmatic person??? I think violence against both men and women is unccaptable.

  8. Arthur Zakarian said:

    I am proud to see what our younger generation is doing against one of the biggest problem “Crime” in Armenia today.
    I am an Armenian-American and live in Yerevan. I can see what is going on in everyday life, and the crimes against the women without any punishment.
    I do hope that the group will keep on fighting, though it is going to be very hard and long path. Good luck to you folks, and we will support you all the wy.

  9. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    I went to Armenia to marry a hayrenaser like me. She acted so modestly with such meek feminine humility. I chose her.
    When she arrived here her behavior changed. She would beat the children mercilessly for being disloyal to her and hit me in front them for trying to intervene. She saw a divorce lawyer, taught our children to hate me and accused me of domestic violence. With these lame and patently false accusations she got every asset that I had owned prior to our marriage while I was left bankrupt wallowing in the streets.
    You don’t believe me. Go talk to her if she will let you. She lives in Pasadena. See if our children’s psychosomatic disorders after the divorce had waned.

  10. Mel said:

    Hello. am doing a report on Armenian-American DV. Am a hispanic woman, so no stranger to violence in culture. Every culture has some form of violence, or DV.. I wanted to ask if there were particular reasons that this cycle is not towards breaking for this culture. For example, there are life stressors, i hear that it’s a patriarchal society, but that a woman’s role is important. Therefore, is it simply a learned behavior? or is the violence perpetuated from the life stressors of the culture? help…

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