Before the pandemic, Karine Sahakyan*, 34, had spent years suffering from her husband’s beatings and her mother-in-law’s abuse at their home in the Ararat region of Armenia. The coronavirus lockdown forced her to find the courage to save herself and her children.
“My story begins at the home of one of my relatives, six years ago. My family and I were invited for a birthday party. Though I wasn't eager to go, later I understood why my relative had insisted on my coming,” Karine recalls.
“During the whole evening two women, with fake smiles, carefully followed my every step and word. That was the evening I met Aram*, my future husband. At first glance he was an honest and modest person. And to impress me, they all said he was a hardworking person. A real husband for a well-educated girl.”
Karine says that it was just a few months later they decided to get married.
“Everyone was happy, including me. It was only later, after the wedding, that my nightmare started.
“My husband and mother-in-law never missed a chance to reprimand me. They always attempted to find something wrong and started an argument, which always ended with violent beatings and curses. Even though I feared my husband, I kept trying to tell him that his behavior was wrong.
‘You are his wife and he can beat you as much as he wants, girl,” my mother-in-law used to say. She would proudly add, “If he beats you, you deserve it.’”