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Sexual Abuse Against Women in Armenia Roundtable Tomorrow

At 2 pm on Jun. 8, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in collaboration with the Women’s Resource Center will be conducting a roundtable discussion on sexual abuse against women and the measures required to preventing sexual abuse, according to a Jun. 6 IWPR press release.

IWPR’s Caucasus Reporting Service addressed this issue recently in an article by Lara Aharonian, co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Centre in Armenia, titled “Standing Up for Women’s Rights in Armenia.”

Recent research conducted by the ProMedia-Gender NGO shows that from June 2009 to June 2010, articles on sexual abuse and gender discrimination made up only 0.4% of Armenia’s media newsfeed.

Meanwhile, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office, 54 cases of sexual violence were reported in the first six months of 2010 compared to 34 cases registered in 2009, meaning that reports of sexual violence in the first six months of 2010 have already far exceeded the total number of reports for all of 2009.

The Women’s Resource Center has been working for three years with women who have survived different forms of sexual abuse, within the framework of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center and alongside other activities, and has introduced a draft bill which proposed amendments to Armenia’s Criminal Code, aiming to carry out reforms in the current legislation.

At the round table, Aharonian will make a presentation outlining the significant issues surrounding the rise in reports of sexual violence in Armenia. She will also be discussing some of the key data which has arisen about the issue of sexual violence from the Women’s Resource Center’s own research.

Organizers expect police officials, representatives from the Prosecutor General’s Office, Justice Ministry and members of local and international organizations to be in attendance. Journalists and participants from activist groups will also be invited to discuss the issues of sexual violence in an Armenian context and to consider and develop possible ways of preventing sexual abuse against women.

The discussion is organized within the framework of the Building Bridges/Building Capacity in the South Caucasus project supported by funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.