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Why do we always blame women? reflections on a video message

Recently, a terrible incident took place in Armenia that cannot leave anyone indifferent․ The father killed his two children and himself, leaving his wife, perhaps, in the most horrible situation in which one can ever imagine.


The grief of a mother who lost her children however, does not seem to be enough, and a large part of our society definitely assumes the role of a judge, necessarily trying to put the woman in the defendant’s chair. Meanwhile, everything seems clear․ The murderer is guilty, but the patriarchal society has its rules, and there are always people here who accuse women in all cases.


The situation reminded the incident in Gyumri, when a man beat his wife to death, beat also his underage daughter, and again, leaving the real culprit behind, the blade of criticism of many was directed at the victim, even the victim’s underage daughter. It seems that death is not enough.


Earlier this year, another brutal murder took place. A 16-year-old girl was killed by a young man. An entire army of Facebook judges was formed to blame the victim again on the Internet, accusing the victim of the incident. What did she have to do with the young man? Why was she alone? These and other questions that had nothing to do with the brutality that justified the violence and the murder.


This is only for this year, but if we remember the events of the previous years, we will remember that in all cases the accusers of the woman will definitely appear.


And even in the most obvious case, when it seems impossible to blame a woman, as the father killed the two children, again there are people who blame the woman, and this picture can be seen by reading the users’ comments on the news on social networks.


Therefore, a question arises here ․ Where does this hatred come from, where does this cruelty come from, the lack of empathy?


In general, blaming the victim, the woman, is accepted in the culture of many countries, and often the degree of blaming the victim is directly proportional to the development of the country, the prevailing morals and stereotypes.


Here, we cannot ignore the role of the media in general, though it is the subject of a separate study and analysis. All of this is reflected in all aspects of our lives, becoming part of our culture.


This case was uniquely cruel, it was unbelievable that people came and blamed the woman, and this received a response even from the wife of RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Anna Hakobyan. It should be noted that in the past, the leader did not speak openly about women’s rights, sexism and related topics, and in this respect, this is a new reality in Armenia. There have also been horrific cases in the past, including child murder and suicide, which, however, have not gone beyond Facebook discussions, and talking about domestic violence, making public perceptions have always been out of the discussion of first ladies or high-ranking officials’ wives, whom we used to see quite often at cultural or  events dedicated to children.


Anna Hakobyan took a big step.  She spoke about the incident, raising its voice, without intermediaries, trying to identify the problems that cause us to have such tragic cases, talking about targeting the victim, and that experts in the field have been raising these issues for years, but do not have an audience such as, Anna Hakobyan with her video message, which had more than 200,000 views on Facebook in a few hours. In other words, high public trust can be directed, discussed, and educated, brought to a new level of discussion the norms that give birth to all these realities in our reality.


These discussions, on women’s rights, masculinity, and violence, must be taken out of the academic environment and simplified so that they are accessible to the public, to those who normalize violence, to those who fall victim,  to start the wheel of change.


People should start asking themselves and each other questions, discussing them, and these discussions should be like this, without complicated subordinate clauses, terms, without frightening words, and their main goal should be to prevent this kind of tragedy, because it is not excluded. , that today there are people next to us in such a situation. Unfortunately.


Every time there is a great uproar after a terrible event, then it is quickly forgotten, lost in the news of the day, but there must be a systemic approach, political will to change public norms in the end.


Maybe A. Hakobyan’s video message is one of the manifestations of that will, but if it is not followed by qualitative changes in TV broadcasting, implementation of public awareness projects, women’s empowerment programs, legislative reforms, in short, a systemic, in-depth approach to all spheres, this will become another scandal and the deaths of children  –  just statistics.

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