Sofia Hovsepyan, MP from “My Step” has come under fire for her comments regarding the horrendous domestic homicide case in Gyumri on March 5th. She wrote on her Facebook page: “Is the deceased mother not to blame at all?” “Is it correct to remain silent? Not to say that women too are to blame? It is not correct, she was dating a young man of almost her son’s age, who was also abusing her daughter, let me leave aside sexual needs, but is it correct to remain silent?”
Many female journalists, including Epress.am’s Alla Manvelyan and Panarmenian’s Julianna Lalabekova have joined dozens of citizens criticizing victim-blaming. A denier of the need to ratify the Istanbul Convention, Hovsepyan keeps the side of ultranationalist deniers of domestic violence, claiming that violence is not a trait peculiar to the Armenian mentality.
A backlash has burst against all those who put into question the murdered woman’s morality, her age and personal behavior. Journalist Lalabekova suggested twisting around the story of the murdered woman in Gyumri by a male antagonist. She suggests, “If your attitude to the awful crime changes by twisting around the female victim into a male victim, if you believe, should a male be in the same position as the woman and be considered a poor victim, while this woman was to blame for having been in a relationship with a male who killed her, then you are a sexist pig!”
Alla Manvelyan stresses the importance of calling off the mandate of the MP even if she is part of the force that was behind the revolution in 2018. “Because we need to experience the change of regime. Comments like this cannot be left without a consequence. Without labeling this MP, we need to call off her mandate. However, we need to give her an opportunity to comprehend what happened.” For people, especially women living in a patriarchal society, victim-blaming is a norm. “She is one of the thousands. However she is a public figure and even more so, a parliamentarian.”