Domestic Violence in
Armenia: Covering the
Crimes That Go Unreported
By James Estrin Mar. 31, 2016
This week Lens is featuring photographers from around the world who have been chosen to attend the fourth annual New York portfolio review.
Once Anahit Hayrapetyan’s girlfriends got married, they started disappearing from her life. She was not surprised by that, as married women in Armenia — a “highly patriarchal society” — sometimes have little independence. One of her friends was forbidden to step outside her home without her husband. Another couldn’t even make a phone call without her husband being present. And her closest friend was physically abused.
Domestic violence against women is commonplace in Armenia, Ms. Hayrapetyan said, yet until recently it was rarely discussed in public. Still, she knew the reality: Growing up, a neighbor girl’s father had killed her mother, but it was discussed only in furtive whispers, if at all.
“No one can say the real numbers of physical abuse cases because it is considered normal and acceptable by most people,” Ms. Hayrapetyan, 35, said. “The police often don’t record cases.”
In 2010, Ms. Hayrapetyan started photographing and recording the testimonies of women who were victims of domestic violence, resulting in “Princess to Slave,” published last year by Fotoevidence. Ms. Hayrapetyan had little difficulty finding women who had experienced spousal abuse — but many did not want to go public. She started with women who were willing to show their faces in the photos to prove “they are real women and the problem really exists.”Source : http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/anahit-hayrapetyan-armenia-domestic-violence/
At times she was too late and had to photograph funerals.
In one case, she photographed family members gathered around the body of Maro Guloyan at her wake at her parents’ home. As relatives checked the body for marks, Ms. Hayrapetyan clearly saw bruises shaped liked fingers grasping the neck.
For the family, the marks confirmed their belief that Ms. Guloyan was murdered by her husband. He and his relatives had claimed she committed suicide. The case was not brought to trial in Armenia, but the Women’s Resource Center of Armenia took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, where Ms. Hayrapetyan’s photos were entered as evidence.
When women marry in Armenia, Ms. Hayrapetyan said, they usually move in with the husband’s family, which can leave them isolated from their own family — and vulnerable to abuse by their husband and in-laws. Ms. Hayrapetyan sees domestic violence as an outgrowth of a culture in which mothers and sisters serve the boys, and when the boys grow up, their wives serve them.
“Men never do housework and they never share in child-rearing,” she said. “They think it’s normal to forbid women to do things. They think it’s normal for women to only be in the kitchen and take care of kids. This is how fathers teach their sons.”
Ms. Hayrapetyan has three young children of her own, and she has photographed much of the project carrying at least one child in a sling. She struggles to make sure that neither of her two boys nor their older sister feels entitled or limited by gender.
Since she started her project, more women have begun speaking out against spousal abuse in Armenia, but not much has changed, Ms, Hayrapetyan said.
“The police are not doing anything and the government is not protecting these women,” she added.
Not surprisingly, female photographers have struggled in Armenia. When Ms. Hayrapetyan started in 2005, there were few successful female photographers. After World Press Photo held workshops there from 2004 through 2006, more women entered the profession, but they often faced discrimination: Two of her friends were rejected for news photographer jobs explicitly because they were women.
Undeterred, Ms. Hayrapetyan helped start 4plus, a collective of Armenian women, along with Anush Babajanyan and Nazik Armenakyan, who will also attend the New York portfolio review this week. They hold exhibits, lectures and workshops to develop documentary photography and empower women. They are starting a photo festival in Armenia for female photographers from around the world.
“We’re trying to not only take photos but help others,” Ms. Hayrapetyan said. “The task is not to be the greatest photographer alone. The task is to have an educated photography community and to empower women in Armenia because they have so many problems here.”
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Voir également : Anna Nikoghosyan : "Les femmes en Arménie sont habituellement soumises à la violence et aux abus"
En Arménie, le harcèlement sexuel au travail n'est pas considéré comme une infraction pénale
En Arménie, le Parti républicain (au pouvoir) ne voit pas la nécessité d'une loi contre les violences domestiques
Violences domestiques en Arménie : "Ne détruisez pas la famille arménienne avec vos approches européennes" (Robert Aharonyan, homme politique)
Gyumri (Arménie) : une ville régie par des habitudes patriarcales et misogynes
Crime d'honneur à Gyumri (Arménie)
"Valeurs européennes" : choc politico-culturel entre Arméniens d'Arménie et Arméniens diasporiques
Les coutumes matrimoniales des Arméniens
Les violences domestiques : un problème qui touche plus du quart des femmes d'Arménie
Le problème de la violence conjugale en Arménie
Les violences faites aux femmes et aux filles en Arménie (rapport de 2011)
Arménie : des femmes souffrent en silence
Violence au sein de la famille arménienne : le cas de Greta Baghdasaryan
Le crime d'honneur, une tradition arménienne ?
Marseille : retour sur un crime d'honneur arménien symptomatique
Le crime d'honneur, une tradition méconnue des chrétiens d'Orient
Istanbul : un couple religieusement mixte victime d'un crime d'honneur de la part du beau-frère chrétien arménien
France : les crimes d'honneur au sein de la première génération d'immigrés arméniens
Le communautarisme diasporique arménien : endogamie, mariages arrangés, auto-ghettoïsation
Le problème des mariages précoces chez les Arméniens du Liban