Stop Violence Against Women
Women and Girls in Iran Are Unprotected from Many Forms of Violence
November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
The UN states: “Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.” In 1999, the UN designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in order to raise public awareness of the problem.
One of the aims of this day is to highlight the degree to which this violence is hidden—a salient factor in the Iranian context, where social stigma makes it difficult for a woman to speak out against domestic violence.
Violence against women in Iran is multifaceted and rarely goes punished. Assaults against women protesting forced hijab in 2018, and the acid attacks against women wearing “improper hijab” in Isfahan in 2014, were never followed by prosecutions.
The abuse inherent in child marriage is rife, with 20 percent of girls married under the age of 18 and 6 percent married between the ages of 10 and 14.
Iranian academic studies estimate two-thirds of Iranian women experience at least one episode of domestic violence during their married life— yet legislation to protect them has been languishing in parliament for years.
In some cases, Iran’s laws exacerbate vulnerability to domestic abuse. Iran’s Civil Code forbids a woman from leaving the matrimonial home without the husband’s permission unless she is able to prove in court she is endangered.
This leaves Iranian women deeply vulnerable to violence, especially given that if a woman leaves the marital home, she is not given maintenance.
The lack of standard mechanisms such as orders of protection to prevent contact between abusers and victims further endangers women.
Violence against women requires significantly increased societal awareness and legal protections—in essence, a government and societal-wide commitment to render unacceptable this crime.
This essay is reprinted from the Center for Human Rights in Iran book, Days to Remember: International Human Rights Days and the Pursuit of Human Dignity in Iran.