Each year, hundreds of women in Armenia report being subjected to domestic violence, yet they hide behind the stigma or lack the ability to seek help. Many women turn to the police and the criminal justice system for safety, assistance and justice. Some discover that these systems fail to protect them — or worse, re-victimize them.
To bring light in these dark places, the Jinishian Memorial Program in Armenia has partnered with a holistic women’s shelter — Women’s Support Center — in the capital city Yerevan. This partnership will provide comprehensive medical services to survivors of violence.
Contributing to this project will not only provide lifesaving medical care, but also will be part of a cultural shift, making it safer for victims of abuse to call for help.
Survivors of domestic violence in Armenia are especially at risk of medical issues related to trauma as well as their sexual and reproductive health. A recent study published by the WSC found that several had undergone forced abortions and were unable to access medical services for related complications. Most survivors were physically abused by intimate partners during their pregnancies. They often experienced miscarriages directly related to the abuse, and a high proportion were at risk of miscarriage throughout pregnancy due to physical and psychological harm, as well as the inability to access medical help as a result of the abuse.
All were subjected to psychological abuse by their partners during pregnancy and, in half of the cases, by mothers-in-law. The women reported symptoms of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Mothers-in-law forced women to carry out heavy labor, refused to meet their basic needs and would not allow them to access health services during pregnancy. The abuse led survivors to delay their first prenatal visit by several months or to skip routine prenatal counseling sessions. The interviewees were often unable to choose a desired medical provider or consult privately with physicians. A variety of maternal, fetal and newborn health complications arose as a result of the abuse and inability to seek medical care. About one-third of these women had attempted suicide at least once before coming to the center.
After many years of advocating for reform, Armenia finally adopted a law on domestic violence prevention in December 2017. The law creates obligations for police to use urgent interventions to protect victims, introduces court-ordered protections, mandates government-run shelters for victims and trainings for service providers, including medical providers.
Annually, the WSC assists around 300 women and children and provides shelter services to 50 women and children. They offer a 24-hour hotline, psychological counseling, two safe houses, life and parenting skills education, vocational counseling, legal assistance and trial defense, professional training, and education and advocacy programs for women and girls, including a successful economic empowerment model that helps women find employment and launch their own small businesses.
By providing for comprehensive medical services for the women and children alongside other services, Jinishian donors are saving lives.
Bringing abuse to light and providing a path to heal depends on a whole network of supporters, funding and praying for restored lives.
For just $10/month, a woman or child at a WSC shelter can receive medical care all year.
The Jinishian Memorial Program works across church traditions in seven countries on a common mission to share the love of God by raising Armenian communities from poverty and despair—the consequences of genocide, communism and wars—to self-sufficiency and hope. Extensive development work in Armenia across health, education, civic and business sectors make a way for the nation’s future. Relief and rebuilding efforts reflect God’s mercy in Syria. Ministries in Beirut, Istanbul and Jerusalem bring vital support to distressed Christian minorities.
From poverty and despair to self-sufficiency and hope! For Armenian communities living with poverty who see no way out, your involvement empowers them with a chance at a different life.