Struggling against domestic violence ARMENIA AND GEORGIA: PARALLELS:

I felt pain in my back, turned around, and saw Vladik, with an ax in his hand

On June 8, 2016, Vladik Martirosyan axed his ex-wife, Taguhi Mansuryan and her parents at the entrance of her apartment.Taguhi was taken to the hospital with severe injuries. While protecting her daughter from an ex-spouse, Taguhi’s mother, Karine Mansuryan, died from an axe, while her father was also injured and taken to hospital.

Taguhi Mansuryan in the hospital
Vladik was hiding behind the entrance door. He hit my back, my head, my stomach, my ear, my neck. I screamed, my mother came out, got between us, struggled, she wanted to save me. I have not seen how he killed my mother. I fainted then, I do not remember anything. Then I saw my father in a hospital on a wheelchair.

"I don't know ... when my son grows up and starts asking questions, what will I say about his father?"

"The scars will vanish probably only through surgery"

"He used to say he was coming to see the baby, but when he came, he did not even want to see the baby, he was attacking me, insulting me and hitting all the time. We were divorced, I cut my ties with him. But he always threatened me and my family, even his own child. He said he would kill me and let the child go to the orphanage". Taguhi Mansuryan tells.

Vladik Martirosyan’s judicial process had not been solved for more than a year.

Taguhi Mansuryan in court
If the police worked properly, the incident would not take place. The police were disrespectful and didn’t pay attention to my alerts when I called and informed that Vladik was threatening me.
Hasmik Khachatryan with his mother and daughter, she has received the EU Prize for courage

Hasmik Khachatryan would prefer not to receive any prize, but live peacefully and without violence instead. During the nine years of marriage, Hasmik's ex-husband, SargisHakobyan, was regularly beating and torturing her.

He beat me and humiliated me. He forced my little boy to split on my face

Recalling another brutal beating, Hasmik tells: "Once, when he saw a scratch on baby’s body, he beat me almost to death. I was exhausted and I thought it was my last day. He was kicking me with his feet and hands. He hit me with the chair so strong that he broke the chair. My face was bleeding severely, the walls of the room were all covered with blood. I asked him to leave me alone. But he put me in the cold water. I was in a nightmare that night. I have come to consciousness when my daughter pulls my arm and calls- mum"

"Once he tried to put my cigarette in my eyes, I was protected by my hands and my hands were burnt"

And one day my patience was over after a severe beating again. On that day, Sargis Hakobyan beat Hasmik with such brutality that she decided to escape from the house, even without thinking about children: "My wounds from the previous beating were still fresh, and I ran away with my slippers. I went and hid in the river reeds near the village. I was all wet. He was driving and constantly calling me. I switched off the phone. The dogs were barking, I was terrified that he would find me because of their barking. If he found me, he'd kill me. I did not know where to go. Then I hid in my friends' home. They took me to the hospital with my wounds. I learned that I was pregnant and had an abortion. I did not want to have a third child from him "

On June 20, 2013, Hasmik reported to the Gavar police station. She says she was afraid because the police did not help her, they mocked at her saying that she came only because of beating.
After a long trial, Hasmik succeeded in taking her two children from her ex-husband. Now she owns a small business, baking and selling the most delicious gata in small stores.
"When I remember those years, I think of "my foolish times". Now I have to say that if it all did not happen, I would not change, I would not have this progress, independence and freedom in my life "
"Now I live in paradise, I am with my children and my parents. Although sometimes there is fear, I see at nights that he kills me"
Now Hasmik works for women's support, helping women who are victims of violence. She says she is always discussing with her children their father’s behavior. "My children have learned that violence is not good, love is not violence"

2In 2014 Gavar Court of First Instance sentenced SargisHakobyanto 1.5 years imprisonment for violating Hasmik Khachatryan and was released under amnesty. After that, Sargis Hakobyan married again and again violated his second wife. He is now arrested again.

Hasmik Gevorgyan, Head of Women's Support Center Programs, says women who have been abused are always thinking about suicide or revenge. Women are always subordinate, men have more rights. In the new law, domestic violence is not viewed as an aggravating circumstance.
3756 cases of domestic violence were registered in Armenia in 2013-2017, 358 cases in 6 months of 2018

On December 13, 2017, the Armenian Parliament passed the Law on "Prevention of Domestic Violence, Protection from Domestic Violence and Restoration of Solidarity in the Family". HasmikGevorgyan observes, "In the new law, domestic violence is not viewed as aggravating"

In 2013-2017, 30 cases of women's murder were registered in Armenia. In the five months of 2018, 2 cases
The Lawagainst Family Violence in Georgia has been operating for nearly 10 years, but over the past five years, 89 women have been killed as a result of domestic violence.
Tamar has been living with her husband for nine years, and after the wedding, the family has begun to deal with problems and disagreements. She has been subjected to physical and psychological violence for years during her marriage.
After another dispute, Tamara left her husband. The ex-husband decided to take revenge and chose children as a target.

Tamar says her ex-husband claimed that it was him who was subjected to violence. "Then he called the prosecutor's office and pretended to be a victim. On the basis of his suit, the prosecutor's office filed a case against me accusing me of false denunciation. "This year, in June, the court set 1,000 Larias a precautionary measure against Tamar. Tamar's interests are protected by the Young Lawyers Association of Georgia. This organization believes that the pursuit of the victim of domestic violence has become a dangerous trend.

Now Tamar must win two battles at the same time: to return the children (the case is in the courtroom) and prove her innocence (the case will be examined in August).

These are pictures drawn by eyewitnesses of family violence in the Georgian crisis center

Thus, children express their emotions

Psychologist Nina Goghokhia says that a child who grows up in a family violence environment is inevitably getting mental trauma.

48-year-old Nata (name changed) says problems have arisen after the birth of the first child, when she could no longer focus on her husban

Nata says she got married when she was 30 years old. She was in love with him. But after the birth of the baby, her husband began to drink more often and to fight, to beat his wife. During the 10 years of marriage, Nata has been away from home for several times as a result of beatings and violence, but she returned again because she did not want to trouble her relatives, she did not have any other place to live. During their joint life, they had two children, two others were miscarriage because of brutal beatings.

"Once I was beaten so badly, that I lost my baby," says Nata.
Then he started using drugs, we did not have electricity and gas for days, children were hungry. I tried to leave him, I went to my sister's house, he found and threatened me, I had to go back. He beat me so much that I could not get up from bed. I asked for medicine, he was angry and said, "I'll kill you."
Recently husband is not disturb to Nata

Now Nata lives in her sister's home. She intends to find a job, and then she will buy her own house and no longer depend on anybody.

Psychologist Nina Goghokhia

Psychologist Nina Goghokhia is working at the Crisis Center at the State Trafficking Victims Defender and Assistance Fund. She works there with the victims of violence and their children. Nina is convinced that it is unacceptable to accept the violence in the sake of family and children", because the child who grows up in such an environment will inevitably get mental trauma.

Now, "liberated from violence" women though they are independent and fight for their rights, note that the legislation does not fully protect women, they are vulnerable; the society gives men "advantages".
Now Taguhi works as manicure master, she is independent. Like her other women: Hasmik, Natan, and Tamar had the courage to resist violence. they have made an important step and now they make great plans for the future.
PROJECT AUTHORS: Melanya Barseghyan, Aravot.am, Armenia. Nelly Babayan, Aravot.am, Armenia. Nino Narimanishvili, SKnews, Georgia.

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