Media coverage is very important to raise the awareness.
Before giving birth to her son Marine Sargsyan, 35 years old, did a sex selective abortion three times, because every time the fetus was a girl ‘’I already had two daughters, and my husband and I wanted a son very much, but every time after the ultrasound check-up we found out it was a girl again. Every time I felt horrible, had physical pains . . . but we also had a great desire to have a son….
Marine is one of the mothers who is doing sex selective abortion to have a boy. Selective abortion is a practice terminating a pregnancy based upon the predicted sex of the baby. This phenomena widespread in the countries of the Caucasus, including Armenia. Based on United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA, 2014), about 1.400 girls annually are not born in Armenia because of sex selective abortions. Ethnographer Karine Bazeyan say that beliefs in gender hierarchy with male domination is still strong in Armenia and this is one of the reasons families goes to selective abortions.
Armenia soon can face demographic crises. Annually 7200 women is doing selective abortion. As a result 1400 girls are not born. The difference is 114 boy and 100 girls, in case when in natural way is 102-103 boy to 100 girls. The difference is almost 10 %. In case selective abortions will continue on 2060 we will miss 93.000 not born girls. The numbers are talking without any comments. The topic is very important and one of the best way to raise the awareness is reporting about it, says Garik Hayrapetyan. After 2011, then the report was done, journalist has started to be more active in covering this topic. This year can be considered one of the active years. News agencies are actively reporting every press conference related to this issue. The coverage of the topic has increased for five times. This is important step, in terms of raising the importance of the issue, and shaping the opinion of the society.
Avag and Hranush are waiting for their first child. It is babe girl but Avag is happy. ‘’ there is a big tendency to have baby boy, I have friends who did selective abortions, but I will not do that, this my baby, and the important is, I want her to be healthy and happy’’…
As we know, media is a powerful tool, and in case of accurate coverage, opinions can be changed, and many life can be saved. The fact, that media is interested in the topic is important but for the result they need to use framings to be more effective and influence of the behaviour.
If in general framing can be a negative tool, in this case, is plays important role. Armenian media is not only telling what the people are thinking but use it in order to be more productive.
In general, media’s framing of abortions follows several routes.
Framings of abortion: negative language and stigmatized phrases
The negative language and stigmatized fraises stay in peoples mind. This is the tool that journalists want to moralize the phenomena.
Usually in Armenia, the family for the first baby wants to have boy. This shows the strength.
‘’Boy continue the family and inherit the property. And if in the family first babe is girl, it seems that family has no head.’’
‘’Baby boy is the strength of the family. Form the real boy, a real strong boy is born’’.
This are the phrases that families are using before the abortion. (Translated form the article www.aysor.am).
Abortion risks in numbers
The presented data always compare the numbers and express the difference of born girls and boys. This numbers shows the reflection of the actions. People can see, what risk we can have in the near future. This numbers make the NGO’s and just ordinary people make some campaign and raise the awareness.
A part of Armenian families terminate the pregnancy in case of a baby girl, which has resulted in a shift of proportions, forming a proportion of 114 boys and 100 girls in 2012. At the same time, 102-106 boys and 100 girls is considered a normal proportion (Armenianow.com, May, 2014)
Abortion as a family violence
This framing is showing another part of the phenomena. The cases are different in the media. In some we see that women are imposed to do an abortion as the family wants to have baby boy. This framing is something that is not visible form the first glace.
‘’I already had two daughters, and my husband and I wanted a son very much, but every time after the ultrasound checkup we found out it was a girl again. Every time I felt horrible, had physical pains . . . (armenianow.com, May, 2014)
This example can go also under stigma framings but it contains the framings of domestic violence.
Public action to raise the awareness in Armenia: photos by hetq.am (Narek Aleksanyan)
This year two major events were done to raise the awareness of the public. One was flesh mob, in the Facebook. Users were posting their photos with draughts and sharing their happy moments.
The second one was public event organized by UNFPA together with World Vision in Armenia.