The letter below by Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan is in response to an article published in the Armenian Weekly on Oct.10 titled “Domestic Abuse? What Abuse? … She fell and died!”
It is a great grief that in the 21st century there are individuals, who can commit a crime therewith against a 20-year-old young lady. There is no justification for murder and I am shocked and saddened by this tragedy. The guilty should be punished with the utmost rigor of the law. I can only imagine the pain Zaruhi Petrosyan’s family has to go through and I feel compassion and sympathy for each and every member of Zaruhi’s family.
For those who may be unaware, I would like to stress that I have been vigorously protecting women’s rights for the past 20 years by drafting out laws on women’s social and political issues. I have taken action by law to increase the number of females in the parliament. I am the president of the Armenian International Women’s Organization and co-founder of the American Armenian Wellness Center with Rita Balian, which promotes the early and accurate detection of breast and cervical cancer, and provides relatively low-cost primary healthcare services to women in Armenia. That is why it was particularly upsetting for me to hear that a few of your Armenian readers, particularly in California, inaccurately comprehended Nanore Barsoumian’s article and accused me of promoting domestic violence.
Let me emphasize once again that I am against any kind of violence and I believe that there should be equality in the family.
It is true that a couple of days before this tragedy, I announced that the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia is considering the possibility of organizing a “Miss Armenian” beauty contest since some of the Armenian communities have already held similar contests in their respective regions. In my personal opinion, an Armenian beauty should have good knowledge of the Armenian language, be a good cook, and preserve the image of an Armenian lady. As a woman and a political figure I feel obliged to talk about decency, humbleness, and modesty. My mother symbolizes the image of an Armenian woman for me, and she is modest, balanced, measured, and devoted to Armenian traditions and customs. I also believe that ill manners, immorality, and betrayal can destroy not only a family but a society. However, I strongly disagree with the parallels drawn in the article, since my definition of the image of an Armenian woman has nothing to do with domestic violence.
Thus, I would like to appeal to all those who have read Nanore Barsoumian’s article to re-read it once again and draw a more accurate conclusion of my words. I promote the image of an Armenian woman only, whose worthiness is especially significant in raising the next generation, but which has nothing to do with domestic or any other kind of violence.
RA Minister of Diaspora