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Marching against domestic violence

Armenian church officials lead event to support new aid center.

February 14, 2012|By Verzhine Nikoghosyan
  • Participants in a march to raise awareness about domestic violence make their way down Glenoaks Boulevard from St. Peter Armenian Church in Glendale to St. Leon Armenian Church in Burbank on Monday, February 13, 2012. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
Participants in a march to raise awareness about domestic…

Nearly 60 volunteers marched the streets of Glendale and Burbank on Monday to raise awareness and gain support for a new domestic violence help center that they hope will make inroads with Armenian families.

Volunteers met in front of St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale and walked to St. Leon Armenian Apostolic Church in Burbank, marching under the slogan “Violence Hurts, Love Conquers.”

Fr. Vazken Movsesian of St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale formed the domestic violence task force under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.

“Nobody has a right to hurt a human being,” Movsesian said. “You don’t have a right to hurt your wife and your children. In these cases, I don’t look at statistics because if we have one case, that’s too many.”

The purpose of the domestic violence task force is to create a resource center where victims can get help and support, or be taken to a safe place. The center, with a central office at the Western Diocese in Burbank, will probably open this fall, organizers said.

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The walk ended in Burbank St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, where Derderian conducted the blessing ceremony of volunteers.

The blessing was followed by a vigil to commemorate the presentation of baby Jesus to the Temple by his family.

In his address to the congregation, Movsesian discussed domestic violence and the mission of this initiation.

“I stand here for people who lost their daughters, brothers and sisters because of domestic violence. I stand here for the mother who lost her daughter, for the brother who lost her sister, to say ‘No more.’ Violence hurts, love conquers, and we are to be that love among our families,” he said.

The walk was the first step in bringing the issue to the surface for public discourse in a community where the taboo of domestic violence is still strong, organizers said.

“We need to get people to wake up and say that this is a real problem,” Movsesian said. “We need to get people to start thinking about doing things to overcome this issue.”

The problem of domestic violence needs to be discussed, said Suzie Shatarevyan, a reference/digital management librarian at Loyola Law School and a producer at Epostle.net.

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