IRAN: Iranian Activists Decry Violence Against Women Amid Reported Gang Rapes

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Western Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

More than 500 Iranian women's rights activists and their supporters have issued a statement calling on authorities to put an end to "systematic violence against women" as the sixth gang rape in recent months was reported, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The statement says the gang rapes "represent the height of misogyny and irresponsibility [on the part] of the military, security, and judicial authorities in Iran." It urges those bodies to be "concerned about women's lives and safety, instead of the strands of their hair" that may be visible despite their veils.

According to the website Jam-e jam, the official organ of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, six men abducted a woman in the town of Malard, west of Tehran, on July 22. They are alleged to have robbed and then gang-raped her.

Asieh Amini, a Norway-based activist and signatory to the statement, told RFE/RL on June 23 that violence had not only become rooted in Iran's social hierarchy, but is also reinforced by the regime's policies.

She added that the reason for the prevalence of violence against women in Iran was that the Iranian establishment, as a patriarchal system, did not recognize women as independent human beings.

Jam-e jam also reported that in early July, two men with criminal records raped a mentally disabled young woman in a Tehran suburb. The suspected perpetrators in both incidents have been arrested, Jam-e jam reported.

In May, 14 men raided a party in Khomeini Shahr, near the central city of Isfahan, and raped the women who were present after locking the men in a separate room.

In late April, more than 10 men allegedly raped a woman who was returning from work in a village near the eastern city of Kashmar.

And a female physician was reportedly sexually assaulted by four men in a village in the northern Golestan Province. It followed a crime in the same province in which two men are accused of abducting, raping, and killing a girl.