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Newsletter – June 2016

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

International Women’s Day

WSC organized and took part in a number of activities within the framework of International Women’s Day, drawing attention to issues surrounding women’s rights. Pushing to combat gender inequality in Armenia, we participated in a public action with fellow advocates on March 8, published an article in Armenian Weekly, and organized an open discussion on feminism and the burgeoning women’s movement in Armenia.

An open discussion organized by the WSC entitled "Living Feminism" that took place at Aeon cafe.

An open discussion organized by the WSC entitled “Living Feminism” that took place at Aeon cafe.

HAYP Pop-Up Gallery

Young Diasporan curators at the HAYP Pop Up Gallery dedicated their most recent Yerevan exhibit, “Lips of Pride”, to the taboo topic of women’s bodies, sexuality, and societal perceptions of shame. On April 13th, WSC Researcher and Writer Ani Jilozian participated in the HAYP panel discussion and spoke about how pervasive language discrimination regarding women’s bodies shapes a culture of shame and violence against women. The event was well attended by activists from Armenia and abroad.

Clothing drives collected for WSC
ADVOCACY

Court Case

WSC Lawyer Nona Galstyan prepared and submitted two applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on behalf of one of our beneficiaries seeking redress for the infringement of her rights. These two appeals urge the ECHR to push government accountability to compensate the victim for her physical and emotional suffering and give her custody of her son, to which she has a legal right. They also point to the systematic impunity and injustices in her case, which led to her abusive husband being granted amnesty. A verdict by the ECHR in favor of the victim will force authorities to address this flagrant breech of human rights and adhere to signed conventions for the protection of women victims of abuse.

Roundtable Discussion

The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women organized a roundtable discussion on March 10th with key decision-makers from government and civil society to discuss the adoption of a domestic violence law. WSC Lawyer Nona Galstyan presented the revised draft law and highlighted provisions that are essential for ensuring human rights protection in Armenia. Serving as a greater impetus for change, one victim herself spoke up and described the impunity she faced when reaching out to authorities.
WSC Lawyer Nona Galstyan (right) stresses the vital role of domestic violence legislation alongside RA Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Filaret Berikyan (center).
WSC Lawyer Nona Galstyan (right) stresses the vital role of domestic violence legislation alongside RA Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Filaret Berikyan (center).
UN Commission on the Status of Women

On March 14th WSC Executive Director Maro Matosian presented a paper at the60th UN Commission on the Status of Women on a panel sponsored by the Armenian International Women’s Association. During this time, she spoke about the challenges that women victims of domestic violence face in achieving economic empowerment as well as the need for policy reform and greater safety nets for women in Armenia.

Femicide Report

WSC’s Ani Jilozian authored Armenia’s first ever femicide report, published by the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women, which records the death of women killed by intimate partners and family members and sheds light on acts of violence that are uniquely experienced by women in Armenia. Describing in depth the lethality risk factors and systemic impunity and injustice in the Armenian context, the report is intended to be used as a tool for change in the community.

     

Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women Coordinator Zaruhi Hovhannisyan and WSC Research & Data Specialist Ani Jilozian discuss the phenomenon of femicide in Armenia.
SERVICE PROVISION 

Emergency Housing  

Our safe house is filled to capacity over 9 months out of the year. Currently, we are hosting 5 women and their 10 children, who range from 4 months to 12 years old. Because space is limited, we’ve had to set up foldable beds in the common area, which is not ideal for the women and children who have escaped abusive households and need personal space to heal. For this reason, we are happy to report that a generous anonymous donor has supported us in opening up another emergency shelter, a welcoming and safe environment where an addition 3 women and their children fleeing harmful home environments can stay.
Survivor Spotlight
22 year-old Ani fled to our shelter in the middle of the night with her 2 year-old daughter, who was undernourished and needed to be immediately hospitalized. The two are coming along well. Ani has been receiving therapy and is already taking part in our economic empowerment program. She will soon be developing a business plan and taking steps to find work. Her daughter, who came to us frail and lethargic, is now an active and bright toddler and soon-to-be preschooler.