Tag Archives: Iran

Violence Against Women in Iran by an Anonymous Man in Tehran

Haleh Sahabi, a human rights activist killed at her father's funeral

Many people in Iran have not heard or read anything about violence against women in the mass media. Actually they are faced with many economic and political problems that don’t let them spend time and energy on subjects like VAW. In my opinion the items below could be considered VAW cases or related items in my society:

1. Police forces are not devoted to handling situations of physical and sexual violence against women. They don’t have enough expertise, ability, education, skills or organization budgets to face these kinds of crimes. The priority to spend budgets belongs to political and military issues, directly or indirectly.

2. A lack of freedom of expression in mass media: radical political and religious filters (especially after the election 3 years ago) tend to prevent any news or report that challenges the government performance nationally or internationally, and suppress any internal media activity which crosses their power boundaries severely. This means that they prefer not to follow up on violence against women in the media, instead of asking questions and thinking about it like other social issues.

3. An undeveloped judicial system: many VAW cases in Iran happen in the family and home environment and are not considered as criminal activity which should be tracked in court. The judicial system cannot respond to women’s needs and create judicial support for them because of the unwillingness and inability to approve any rule from outside of Islamic rules. Below is the part of chapter 34 of the Holy Koran, the name is Alnesa (which means women) in Arabic :

وَ اللاَّتِی تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِی الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَکُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَیْهِنَّ سَبِیلاً إِنَّ اللّهَ کَانَ عَلِیًّا کَبِیرًا

This chapter is about how men can punish their wife, and one of those ways is “beating them.” With attention to this obvious Holy Koran chapter any Muslim could beat his wife and the judicial system and police forces can’t stop him easily. Fundamentally, there is no equity in responsibilities and rights between the male and female sexes in Islamic rules.

4. Recently the government decided to separate boys’ and girls’ classes in all universities instead of solving the numerous problems of the country’s educational system. This action will lead to less understanding and fewer transactions between the two different sexes and may increase conflict and violence more than before in their lives after university.

5. There are few supportive systems or institutions for minority groups who need to be cared for. They don’t work well or in line with their mission statements. While there are groups for women who were raped or abused, or people with disabilities, and even people who lost their health or organs through the 8 years of imposed war between Iran and Iraq, overall these institutions do not take responsibility to use their budgets to help.

I would like to mention that the level of security, social services and economic welfare in Tehran, the capital, is much more than any other city in Iran and only 11 percent of Iran’s population lives here. Our system is based on centralization and so other cities are less developed in many aspects, considerably in considering social issues like VAW.

Bachelor of Public Administration, Allameh Tabataba’ee University, 2007
Master of Management, University of Tehran, 2009

To read this post in the original Farsi come back tomorrow!

Love Your Body Day

October 19 is Love Your Body Day, something I’ve been celebrating since I was introduced to the concept in college at San Diego State University by the courageous members of the National Organization for Women. Erin Matson, NOW’s Action VP had this to say about body image and loving yourself. And while I very much appreciate Meghan McCain’s courage in posing for the NOH8 Campaign and openly discussing body image issues, the photo chosen by Hollywood NOW to showcase their Celebrity Host could not possibly fit any tighter into the media box of what women in America are supposed to look like. Welcome to the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.

Many issues arise when talking about body image, especially for women; and for all we (especially feminists) talk about personality and intelligence and inner-strength being more important than outer-beauty… the truth is, in every society, women are judged on outward appearance.

From men in America and the UK navigating body image standards set up by advertising and the porn industry to transsexuals in Iran fighting stigmas of “abnormality” to young girls in Cameroon being subjected to breast ironing to the more than 100 million girls and women worldwide suffering the effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), unfortunately our bodies are battlegrounds.

Eating disorders affect more than 10 million people a year in the US alone, so think twice before you praise someone for loosing weight. Eating disorders affect women, girls, boys and men around the world, with silverchair’s frontman Australia-native Daniel Johns being one of the most recognized male celebrities suffering from anorexia anywhere. Because of the incredibly unhealthy body images fed to us by the media cosmetics is a multi-BILLION dollar industry and rates of plastic surgery to “beautify” everything from earlobes to vaginal labia are skyrocketing.

So, as always, I want to give suggestions for you to improve the world around you. How can we fight the Ariel complex of altering our bodies and loosing our voices to be attractive?What can you do to promote realistic body images of real people? Speak up! Learn to accept that hundreds of body types exist and are natural; don’t give in to media standards fueled by capitalist greed designed to make you spend money; demand that stores carry your size clothes and shoes whether you’re a naturally tiny size 0 or a naturally curvy size 20; look up to real people around you for inspiration, your teachers, parents, and mentors, not airbrushed and nip/tucked celebrities; if someone tells you you’re ugly/fat/unloveable/don’t-fit-neatly-into-the-claustrophobic-boxes-built-by-the-media, tell them to fuck off; and send sexist ads into Ms. Magazine’s No Comment section. Understand that differences, especially body differences like sex, (dis)ability and race, are beautiful!

Finally, what’s the most important thing you can do? Love your body! “The moment we choose to love, we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love, we begin to move toward freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.”- bell hooks

Day 8- Yalla! International Women’s Day

Yalla! has become the cry of the Arab world in the past few months. Raised by the powerful and eloquent voice of Mona Eltahawy, yalla calls on Arabs around the world to “hurry up” and make democracy happen.

Since December 17, when desperate Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire, the willingness of Arabs everywhere to risk their lives in hopes of democracy has flourished. Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, (also in Bahrain) Algeria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, and, of course, Libya, have shown the world the spectrum of people power.

Because of the success of the Egyptian Revolution and its high-profile nature there are many more sources of information regarding what happened, and what is happening there. For this reason, and to pay tribute to Mona (who in a single hour of class taught me more than most people ever have), today’s post for International Women’s Day will focus on the women of the Egyptian Revolution.

These photos showcase what an active role women have taken in demanding an end to Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship and demanding equality for all Egyptians. From the beginning of revolutionary action international audiences questioned how involved Egyptian women were in the nonviolent actions and what their fate would be after the fall of Mubarak.

News reports of “chaos and unrest” quickly changed their language when Mona Eltahawy schooled CNN to “call it a revolution!” From then on the media have accurately labeled the events in Egypt an uprising of democracy.

Women’s experiences of the activism in Tahrir Square were unlike anything they had ever experienced, and until the brutal sexual assault on international journalist Lara Logan, women stated they were not being harassed and actually felt safer in the streets.

The brave Egyptian women (and soldiers) who rescued Logan are a testament to the courage and will of the women of Tahrir Square. Their actions, and the actions of the millions of women who took to the streets and engaged in strategic nonviolent action, have shattered the myths about complacent Arab women and paved the way for women of many other Arab nations to stand up for their rights.

Follow Egypt’s example: learn about strategic nonviolent conflict and stand up for your own rights!

P.S. In honor of International Women’s Day the Feminist Majority Foundation is hosting a FREE 1 hour webinar on International Family Planning at 1900EST. Go here to register.

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