Kaveh Taheri

The hidden reality of violence against women in Iran

If you wish to know how civilized Sharia Law is, look how women are treated in the Islamic controlled countries. (Photo credit: Facebook - Women's Revolution)
If you wish to know how civilized Sharia Law is, look how women are treated in the Islamic controlled countries. (Photo credit: Facebook – Women’s Revolution)

Hillary Rodham Clinton: “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America. This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution.”

Iranian women endure systematic gender discrimination as second class citizens in Iran, they are deprived of fundamental rights. Of course, the situation of Iranian women is slightly better than their peers in Middle-East, but, they undergo many hardships under both Sharia Laws and backward traditions. Women suffer social inequalities such as lack of an appropriate job, not allowing to choose desired clothes, forced marriage in traditional cities, verbal and physical sexual harassment, and insecurity during hours of the day. Only 33% of Iranian women are employed, an economic expert Mr. Razzaghi told Khabar Online in late October of 2015. Most of the people who commit suicide are women. More than 10% of the students deprived of education are girls between 6 and 17 years old, ISNA declared on October 2014.

Recently, Iranian news agencies revealed details of a domestic violence case in which a man tortured his wife and two daughters for 21 days. He jailed his wife and daughters at house and brutally tortured them. She was frequently thrown in a metal box and her addicted husband fired a gun under the box, the victim told the state-run news agency ISNA. She also added that her naked body was often burnt by an ignited cloths. Her attorney Ms. Mohebi said that there are no punishments for gender violence against women under the laws in Iran.

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Iranian women have been always complaining of harassment during the day in the streets, public places, bus and metro. In pointing out that women are not even immune from religious people with traditional viewpoints, she says: “so many times I’ve been warned and blamed by women in Islamic dress that it’s because of the way I am dressing.”

Arezou also noted forced marriage in which women and young girls are being forced by their families to get married because the families will benefit from this marriage while these women become the victims of abuse. Many forced marriages occur to stop the bloodshed and retribution and ending sectarian strife, although these marriages rarely occur in Iran and usually happen in far-flung village.

Sima considered wrong traditions of old attitudes in methods of household, marriage, raising children as other problems of women and said: following wrong ancestral traditions is something very wrong and senseless, because society is going forward and we cannot confront today’s standards with the old standards.

Looking at women around the world has become very annoying to women, but this is the reality in backward and Muslim countries.

Maryam pointed out harassment by some tutors or doctors and said “some male doctors when they are examining touch our organs in an unusual way and out of medical methods.” She talked about her own personal experience when she had an injection in the buttock, and was harassed by the personnel of the injection section. She also mentioned her experience and those of peers with verbal and physical harassment while visiting internal medicine and women’s physicians. She continued and said that many teenage or toddler girls were abused by male relatives, by acts such as kissing the lips or licking their genitals. And after revealing the incident, the families have remained silent to save their face, this issue is continuing to seriously threaten women. She also explained her bitter experience at the airport gate during a physical inspection and acknowledged that many of her friends had the same experience being abused at the gate inspections.

Many women are at risk of exposure to sexual harassment by co-workers or their employers in the workplace. Many women speak about being asked for closer or sexual relationships by their employers and they have to accept these suggestions or they will be fired. Many employers misuse their positions to achieve their goals and put their female employees under pressure to have relationships with them.

Iranian women are often abused in public transport such as buses, subways and taxis. Most of the women considered lack of codified rules for sexual violence against women as the major reason of sexual harassment. There is no significant law against sexual violence to support women against harassment.

Several young women felt senselessly victimized by acid throwing (Honor Related Violence). A series of acid attacks on women in the city of Isfahan happened around October 2014, raised fears and prompted rumors that the victims were targeted for not being properly veiled (Islamic dress). The Islamic vigilantes riding on motorbikes threw acid in at least four women’s faces in Isfahan, but the Media put the number as high as eight.

Maryam Ayubi, an alleged adulteress, was stoned to death while strapped to a stretcher in 2001.

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Official laws against women in Iran

-Article 1179 of the Civil Code states Parents have the right to punish their children within the limits prescribed by law.

-Article 18 of passport law indicates married women requires their husband’s permission to apply for a passport.

-Article 21 of Iran’s Constitution indicates the government must ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria. This leaves it up to the clergymen to interpret the laws pertaining to women.

-Article 232 of the Penal Code, called the Law of “Hudud”, stipulates that the penalty for fornication is flogging 31 to 74 strokes of the lash, for unmarried male and female offenders.

-Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code indicates: Women who appear on streets and in public without the prescribed “Islamic dress (Hijab) will be condemned to 74 strokes of the lash or ten days to two months prison or fine up to 500.000 Rial (16$).

-Article 115 of Iran’s Constitution states the condition for the presidential candidates the law states that: “The President must come from among the religious and political statesmen (rejal).” The word rejal literally means men of high achievement.

-Article 162 of Iran’s Constitution states the head of justice department and attorney general must be ‘mojtahed’ [a religious man who is able to issue decree], honest, and knowledgeable in legal subject matters.”

-Article 550 of the Islamic Penal code states that the “Diyyah” of a Muslim woman is half of the “Diyyah” of a Muslim man. By law the life of a woman has half the value of a man in Islamic criminal law in Iran.

-Article 1105 of the Civil Code states in the relationship between a man and a woman, the man is responsible as head of the family.

-Article 1117 of the Civil Code states that the husband may ban his wife from any technical profession that conflicts with family life or her character.

-Article 1133 of the Civil Code states a man can divorce his wife whenever he so chooses and does not have to give her advance notice, referring to the conditions provided in the law.

I wrote this article for The Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group on  Monday, May 9, 2016.

About the Author
Kaveh Taheri, Iranian activist and former political prisoner from Iran. Kaveh Taheri is a Human Rights activist and journalist who has worked exclusively on Human Rights Violations especially Middle East, Iran and has attempted to improve living conditions for refugees awaiting resettlement in Turkey. He has repeatedly protested against excruciating refugee life in Turkey and covered the subject in numerous articles and news reports. Kaveh, who was a former political prisoner in Shiraz, had been sent to prison for his writings and statements on his Websites and Weblogs, in Iran and fled the country through Turkey to save his life.
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