Monday, 23 November 2009

Armenia: violence against women (posters, part 1)

For part 2 - see Unzipped: Gay Armenia

Look at these posters. Difficult, I know. Chilling, I know. ...But do not turn away. Let’s face up these real life stories of violence against women still happening in our society.

These posters will be translated into Armenian, and used throughout the country as part of the campaign by Women’s Resource Centre to stop violence against women.
On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan will mobilize community members and other NGOs to protest gender violence. The events planned for November 25th will mark the beginning of 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls, which will include an exhibition and film screening at Kino Moscow in December. This will be the fourth year that the Women’s Resource Center has joined countries around the world in organizing events on November 25th to raise awareness about the issue of gender violence.

*posters by zArt - Araz Artinian


Anonymous said...

There is no violence against women in Armenia, just like there was no sex in USSR...

artmika said...

Well said...

nazarian said...

Do you see a danger of this turning into a Panjuni moment? Egg the women on to speak up and when they get assaulted, there is no support network to help them?

BePeace said...

There are actually support centers for women who speak up. One example is the Women's Resource Center that runs a hotline for precisely such women. There is also another organization that provides legal and psychological services to abused women.

Onnik Krikorian said...

There is one argument about these posters is that by taking some quotes from a report intended for specialist reading is one thing, but ultimately they will turn society against dealing with the problem.

The criticism is that they are very confrontational and don't tackle the issue of changing a mindset in society -- just among SOME women. Well, I don't know. Some people say posters like this have more chance of success in a country like Armenia:


Onnik Krikorian said...

To be honest, I can't see many of these posters remaining on walls or buildings for very long at all. Maybe a day? I can also see a campaign to stop their public display which defeats the purpose. Oh well, let's see...

Onnik Krikorian said...

The second set you link to are less confrontational and more educational.

artmika said...

Onnik, remember ‘red apple burial’ organised by the Women’s Resource Centre a year ago? It was a small action, but pretty radical and shocking for Armenian standards. And I think it worked to the extent. It did not bring revolutionary changes in mentality, but at least it challenged people and made them think and talk about the issue more openly. There have been even music video influenced and inspired by that action; also articles in local media (and on a regular basis).

Nazarian, yes, it’s a problem. We do not have a wide range of support networks. But on a smaller scale, as BePeace mentioned, there are groups and systems in place to provide such support in Armenia.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I was searching for news on the South Caucasus, and I must say it is very refreshing to see that something positive is being done to combat abuse against women in Armenia. Hopefully this will spread to the whole region since violence against women is a huge Caucasian problem.

I'm a Georgian girl, and the same thing happens back home- a lot of men beat their wives and a lot of those women are silent. If they divorce, they are ostracized by society. If they call the police, it is very rare that the man is punished, since: a) according to Georgian police, there is a lot of problems they have to deal with, including drug addicts and murders, b) the men who abuse almost always use the "it's part of your culture whether you like it or not" card (like they do with bride kidnappings, but I digress) and c) in our culture, you are not supposed to interfere in a family's matters.

In Georgia reason (c) is taken very seriously. It's such a huge double standard; if a man beats his wife no one will say/do anything since that is his family and it's his business. If a girl sleeps with someone before marriage everyone gossips about her, calls her a whore, and treats her horribly. I'm not sure how it is in Armenia though.

While I think the initiative is good, I sort of agree with Onnik. These posters are very controversial, and while they encourage women to speak up, in most cases what the family wants the girl/woman to do will hold more sway over her. Pleasing family and society is still a huge part of both our cultures. It's even ridiculous; in Georgia you think about what the neighbors will say even before you think of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Btw sorry for that super long post, but in case I didn't say this already:

Congratulations women of Armenia! This is a very brave step forward and hopefully the only way from here is up. Good luck from Georgia and the USA :)

Onnik Krikorian said...

Mika, actually, the red apple burial didn't happen in public because of the reaction against it. Instead it was a private invitation-only event.

Anyway, we'll see. Let's hope society is ready, but...

artmika said...

Artists and activists unite to break the silence on violence against women

On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Women's Resource Center in Yerevan joined organizations around the world to raise awareness about the issue of gender-based violence. In the framework of 16 days of activism to end violence against women, 38 artists and activists decided to break the silence on this issue and participated in a collective exhibition organized by the Center.

The opening of the collective exhibition followed by a screening of a series of short films on violence will take place on December 5, 2009 at 5pm, on the second floor of Kino Moscow.

The program for the opening:

5pm - Exhibition

6pm - opening remarks:

Gohar Shahnazaryan and Lara Aharonian - WRCA

Ms. Anahit Bakhshyan - Member of National Assembly

Ms. Marie Yovanovitch - American Ambassador to Armenia

6:30 - screening of films:

Women on the front line /find a word for it/ congo, UNFPA , 2007, 22 min., Armenian with English subtitles.

Silence, Deniz Ceyhan Arman, 2007, 9 min., Turkey.

Zone of silence, Mariam Ohanyan, 2009, 16 min, Arm. with Eng. sub.

Marital rape, Carole Rousopoulos, 30 min, French with Arm subtitles.

Women on the front line /Showing the red card/ Austria, UNFPA, 2007, 22 min, Arm. with English subtitles.

The exhibition and film screenings will continue until December 7, 2009.

Partner organizations and institutions: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, American Embassy in Armenia, IREX.