Anna, Armenian victim of domestic violence in France: “The fear of having to leave paralyzes me”

Violence against women

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Domestic violencecase

In November, the Minister of the Interior trumpeted that the State would protect foreign women who had suffered domestic violence on French territory. But in reality, the criteria for benefiting from this protection remain very restrictive, as Anna’s testimony illustrates.

On Christmas Eve, she collapses. In her hands, Anna (1) holds a letter from the prefecture of Loir-et-Cher, which urges her to leave France, where she has lived for three years, to return to Armenia, where she fled a forced marriage with a a man twenty years her senior. “The fear of having to leave paralyzes me, she says. I explained my story several times, I had hope. It’s our turn to listen to him, on a Monday in January, in Blois, in the small office studded with his lawyer’s files. Anna is 27 years old, a deep gaze that struggles to fix itself in those of others, a hesitant voice, kneaded by her fears and her grief.

After her arrival in France, the young woman suffered eight months of beatings and rapes from her companion, also an Armenian. So, for the second time in her life, she fled, left the east of France for its center-west, where, supported by associations, she filed a complaint against him on September 25, 2019. In her country of origin, her family and her Yezidi community disowned her after her departure. She can’t imagine going back there, fearing their reprisals. It is in France that she wants to build her life.

“Very restrictive criteria”

The day after our meeting, a new letter from the prefecture arrived and, with it, reasons for hope. A decree, signed on January 13, withdraws his obligation to leave the territory (OQTF), as requested by his lawyer in his appeal, and authorizes him to live and work in France during the…

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