“Breaking the Wall of Shame”
Saintly Women’s Day Program Raises Awareness
By David Luhrssen
(Greenfield, WI) The statistics are startling. According to statistics quoted by Rev. Fr. Vazken Movsesian, one woman is physically assaulted every nine seconds in the U.S. and three women die in America each day at the hands of husbands and boyfriends. Movsesian was speaking at the annual Saintly Women’s Day, sponsored by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church and hosted on March 15 by St. John the Baptist Armenian Church in Greenfield. Some 80 women and men from southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois gathered for worship service, lunch and Movsesian’s talk on Datev Oureach, the social service organization he founded to assist abused Armenian women in the Los Angeles area.
Movsesian has been a well-known activist in the Armenian Church’s Western Diocese. Currently the pastor of St. Peter Church in Glendale, Movsesian was a pioneer in bringing the Armenian Church to the worldwide web and has worked to put the Church at the forefront of human rights issues. He has raised money and awareness for genocide survivors in the Sudan and other troubled regions. “What does it mean to be Genocide survivors?” he asked the Saintly Women’s Day audience. “It shouldn’t still be ‘Please help us!’ It should now be, ‘We’ll help you!’”
That spirit of helping infuses Datev Outreach , run out of the Western Diocesan headquarters under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Primate and staffed by volunteers. The project was sparked by a shocking incident several years ago when a Glendale Armenian woman, beaten by her husband, was refused help by her Armenian neighbors. Her Good Samaritan that day was African American. Datev (“To give wings” in Armenian) Outreach, was organized to provide support and resources for abused women through the power of love, as expressed in the Armenian Church. Datev Outreach reaches out to equip victims and families through education to lead independent lives and to break the wall of shame that has kept spousal abuse from being discussed in the Armenian community. To that end, Movsesian organized a Walk Against Violence whose marchers bore signs with Datev Outreache’s motto: “Violence Hurts Love Conquers.”
Datev Outreach has also begun to aid Armenian children of abuse by finding Armenian foster parents. In what Movsesian described as “a miracle of God,” the Patriarch of Jerusalem happened to be visiting the Western Diocese and witnessed the conclusion of the Walk Against Violence. He pledged assistance.
Movsesian’s talk was preceded by an all-vegan luncheon prepared according to the traditional Armenian Lenten fast and a church service conducted by Movsesian and clergy from the Midwest including Rev. Fr. Nareg Keutelian, Very Rev. Aren Jebejian, Rev. Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, Rev. Fr. Hovhan Khoja-Eynatyan and Rev. Fr. Sahak Kaishian.
For more information on Datev Outreach please visit