Almost one in ten women in Armenian has been physically ill-treated by their husbands or partners, according to government research commissioned by a United Nations agency.
In what was the most comprehensive ever study of domestic violence in the country, the National Statistical Service interviewed nearly 2,800 female residents aged between 15 and 59 in late 2008 and early 2009. Yerevan-based representatives of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) made its findings available to RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Thursday
They show that 9 percent of respondents said they were occasionally or regularly beaten in domestic disputes. Another 3.3 percent alleged sexual abuse, usually accompanied by physical violence, at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends. A quarter of those polled claimed to have faced intimidation and other types of “psychological pressure.”
The UNFPA survey identifies “economic violence” as another form of domestic violence. According to it, 7.5 percent of Armenian women are not allowed to work, while 8 percent of those having jobs are forced to give their incomes to their male partners.
“We live in a patriarchal society,” Garik Hayrapetian, deputy head of the UNFPA’s Yerevan office, told RFE/RL, commenting on the results of the survey.
“The man plays the role of family protector and main breadwinner. That brings with it a sense that if he is the main breadwinner then he must have final say, and any objection to that leads to what we have,” he said.
In another finding emphasized by Hayrapetian, more than half of the female respondents justified the beating of wives and girlfriends for infidelity and other perceived serious offenses. Such attitudes are particularly prevalent among women in rural areas, the UNFPA official said.