Our objective is to create a safe environment for women — a place where they receive support, empathy, and the knowledge that they are not alone in their struggles. Women are provided with practical learning about domestic violence, as well as counseling that bolsters self-esteem and confidence. Frankly, it is a difficult task to dissipate years, sometimes decades, of control, fear, even brainwashing of the victims in a matter of a few months. It is a long process faced with many lapses, bumps and bruises.
The Center also strives to change myths and taboos regarding domestic violence and, more broadly, the role of women in society. We uphold progressive values that promote political, economic, and social rights of women. Thus, we are involved in not only social work per se, but also combating larger, thornier problems of gender inequality, stereotypes, patriarchal values, so that women can live in safety, in peace, and as equals.
The Center takes special interest in advocacy efforts. We understand that simply by assisting women in need, we will not manage to change perceptions of women’s rights; emancipation of both men and women requires much more. Together, with other accomplished NGOs in Armenia, we try to raise awareness among young women about positive values and healthy families based on relationships of partnership, not control. In this, we strive to help women achieve their potential as valuable members of and contributors to Armenian society. As such, we are a proud member of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women, an ad hoc alliance of feminist, social advocacy, and work groups.
The Center offers a hotline, walk-in services, legal and psychological counseling, training sessions and community outreach. At the center we raise awareness about domestic violence so that women can identify it, see the warning signs, learn safety plans and how to become stronger to be able to combat it. When a woman’s life is threatened or she decides to come out of an abusive relationship, it is considered a most dangerous phase. To address this problem, we started a comprehensive shelter program — one that enables abused women and their children to recover fully in privacy and safety.
In the US in the 1970s, women began to speak up about battery. Until then, many people thought men had a right to batter women. Many changes occurred in the US since the 70s and domestic violence decreased by 64%. We believe that the same type of support for women and raising awareness towards the issue will help women in Armenia feel safe and raise their children in a positive and healthy environment and not be scared by violence. This is a fundamental public health and human rights issue.