Home / Women’s Rights / Statement Following Attack on Female Oppositionists Addresses Gender Inequality and Power Imbalance in Armenia

Statement Following Attack on Female Oppositionists Addresses Gender Inequality and Power Imbalance in Armenia

The following statement has been circulating on social media following the Tuesday attack on opposition Yerkir Tsirani members Marina Khachatryan and Sona Aghekyan:

-I write this because today, at the meeting of the theater called the Council of Elders, more than ten men from the group calling themselves the party of power attacked and beat up two women in front of everyone’s eyes with a clear threat of sexual assault. In this country, we are killed, thousands of us are beaten up every day, and there are people who justify this and come up with reasons [for this behavior]; some even hope that the problem will be solved with the adoption of a law on domestic violence.

The media immediately dubbed the attack as “a brawl in the Council of Elders of Yerevan.” This is not the first time that women are attacked in this building, subjected to sexual harassment and then beaten. It is a long-lasting tradition, with unchanging roles, rituals, a beginning and an end, a lack of further assessments, and a widespread rhetoric of victim blaming. It is everywhere: in our homes, on the street, in state institutions. Pornography makes inequality sexy and promotes it, and local media use the opportunity to show other women what might happen to them if they respond to sexual assault with violence. Domestic violence, a brawl, a misunderstanding and other such words are terms that mask an attack on a woman. The truth is there is a war declared by men that takes place every day against women of all nationalities and ages everywhere.

What’s next? How is a woman to live if her life is under constant threat? Which of these Republicans will be held responsible for the attack? We are well aware that in Armenia those who murder women are imprisoned on average for 3 years or fined 50 000 drams; or pardoned and released right in the courtroom. These hierarchical laws and their advocates have nothing to do with justice in a misogynistic system.

I write and share this with you because I am convinced that our only way out is self-defense against the family, the state, public institutions – patriarchal structures. We live in a state of femicide, a culture of rape, where peace and security are only an illusion. In the war against men, we need to get better at being in conflict. We can reject victimhood and get back the power over our own bodies only through revenge.

Let’s create self-organized groups in our neighborhoods and villages. We do not ask the male power to stop raping us; we threaten – if you lay a finger on me, I will kill you.

You and I can defend ourselves only if we are unified.

We exist, there are many of us, and we are one.