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!