Zaruhi Petrosyan, 20, mother of one child, died in Erebuni hospital, where she was taken with brain injury, a broken finger and bruises in different parts of her body. Before she died, the young woman told the doctors that the injuries were a result of a fall.
Zaruhi’s sister says the young mother was subjected to continuous domestic abuse since her marriage in 2008. According to media reports, Armenian police have arrested Zaruhi’s husband Yanis Sargisov. However, Zaruhi’s relatives claim, that the police knew about continuous beatings and abuse she was subjected to and failed to act in due time. Now they expect the police to cover up the case.
“We, the undersigned, are outraged by the death of Zaruhi Petrosyan, a victim of domestic abuse. Government must guarantee justice in the death of Zaruhi by investigating all possible guilty parties (not just the husband but also his brother and mother); investigate allegations of local law enforcement’s prior knowledge of Zaruhi’s continuous abuse; and expedite passing of domestic violence legislation,” a recently launched online petition runs.
Domestic violence is endemic in the Armenian society. I have seen and heard of at least a dozen such cases, when husband or mother-in-law would abuse the young wife, but nobody would act on this citing traditional Armenian approach: “It’s their family business.”
In November 2008, Amnesty International issued a report on domestic abuse in Armenia stating that thousands of women in Armenia are regularly subjected to violence within their families. The government promptly promised to pass domestic violence legislation, but did not deliver that pledge.
What I find strikingly typical in this story, is that Zaruhi Petrosian, the victim, told the doctors she ‘fell’. It is considered a shame in the Armenian society to voice about shameful things in the family. This also translates to other issues in the society – take corruption, election fraud or hazing in the Army. People often tell me: “Why are you writing about those things in Armenia, you’re betraying your country!” I rarely answer to such accusations, because I understand I’m talking to an idiot. Because, you know what, those who keep silent are betraying this country, not me. Because only by voicing concern can we do something about it.
So I urge you – sign this petition, do something to prevent more deaths and violence in Armenia!