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In Iran, Violence Against Women Highest Among Kurds

By Ava Homa 5/1/2014
According to the BBC’s Persian service, 66.3 percent of Iranian women experience violence in their lives, but Kurdistan Province and the city of Ahvaz are reported to be the two most violent cities for females. Photo: ISNA
According to the BBC’s Persian service, 66.3 percent of Iranian women experience violence in their lives, but Kurdistan Province and the city of Ahvaz are reported to be the two most violent cities for females. Photo: ISNA

TORONTO, Canada – About 88 percent of women in Iran’s Kurdistan Province reportedly experience some form of abuse, among the highest in the country.

According to the BBC’s Persian service, 66.3 percent of Iranian women experience violence in their lives, but Kurdistan Province and the city of Ahvaz are reported to be the two most violent cities for females.

The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

Despite the huge numbers of women living with abuse in Kurdistan Province, abusive men enjoy impunity under the patriarchal laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic.

The children of battered women are also victims of domestic violence. Witnessing spousal violence is regarded as a form of child abuse. Children who witness violence in the home have twice the rate of psychiatric disorders as children from non-violent homes.

Kajal, a 33-year-old senior government clerk in Sanandaj and the mother of a two-year-old, was repeatedly beaten by her unemployed husband. He demanded she hand over ownership papers to the family home and the car she bought with her earnings.

Azadeh, 21, a university student in Germany, told Rudaw she decided to leave Iran after seeing her older sister burst into her parents’ home with broken teeth, following a severe beating by her husband.

“Nobody has been able to stop him. My sister stays in that marriage to be with her children. Men have custody in Iran,” she explained. 

Farah, 45, a physical education trainer in Sanandaj, set herself ablaze one year after her marriage.

“It was just a threat when I poured the gasoline on my body, but when he (the husband) dismissed me with indifference, I ended up lighting the match. That was 15 years ago. He divorced me and remarried. The burning marks are still persistent on my body,” she lamented.

It is feared that violence against women in Kurdistan is inevitably creating a more unhealthy society, since children are affected by domestic abuse. The children of abused women are likely to become victims or perpetrators of violence later in life.

An increase in the rates of violence against women is seen as proof that this behavior is not condoned by society.

Jafar Bolhari, a psychologist and expert in violence against women, believes that many women are “unaware of the crime committed against them.” Many consider receiving a slap by the husband or a verbal harassment as parts of life and not a form of oppression, he explained.

According to the Kurdpa news agency, in the Fall of 2013, 33 Kurdish women were reported to have experienced violence. Fifteen women committed suicide, eight were imprisoned (three of them activists) and seven were executed by the Iranian government. 

Iran’s Kurdish regions are economically among the country’s most neglected areas.

Soraya Falah, a Kurdish women’s rights activist from Baneh who resides in Los Angeles, believes that the Iranian government promotes violence in the Kurdish regions by deliberately letting them flounder socially and economically.

Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Activists say that Kurdish men and women need to receive education about the definition of violence and its effects on women, children and society. They complain that the Iranian government does not seem to have any intention of raising awareness in this regard and only Kurds themselves can make a difference. 


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Bakir Lashkari
Bakir Lashkari | 5/1/2014
It is nothing news that Iran Islamic regime is using and allowing the Violence against the women systematicly not only qt homes but also in public and in prisons! What else do you expect from the severe Islamic Shiites regime in Kurdistan except using the Violence who ever someone does not obey it 's Religious? By the law in Iran, you are allowed to have even a contract for one week, one month, one year between man and women :-) This is the Shiites religious law which allows to have various wifes and in various conditions :-)) what can you do as a women , girl in Iran if they are beatin by some one from the family or by the police? The only thing they can do, accept the pain or just go away, but to where? The one who has money or connections, could fly away from Iran or cross the border to Kurdistan and eventually reaching the western European countries! That Why there are so many Iranian refugees, especially the women in the west, who are living alone or with thier childeren and having the most traumatic experiences in their lives! Who is next?
Rebar | 5/1/2014
The more important question is why domestic violence is the highest in the world in Iran and why the Kurdish region is worst effected, the answer is the Iranian regime, it's actively facilitating this, pursuing a policy disintegration and chaos in the Kurdish region. People even Kurds outside Iran are truly clueless what hell Kurds live in under this Islamic regime, I urge everyone to read some news about Iranian Kurdistan, not a single day goes by without Kurd being jailed, tortured, hanged or just shot in broad daylight for no reason. Revolutionary thugs in the Kurdish villages, towns and cities are under direct order to harass, humiliate, beat and kill Kurds to terrorize the population. Just a few days ago there were 6 different incidences of soldiers killing Kurds for no reason, one of them was shot in the face in front of a dozen witnesses just because he asked why he was being humiliated, these are not activists or critics of the regime just ordinary people. Besides keeping the Kurdish region the most impoverished and terrorizing the population, the regime has also unleashed an active policy of drug distribution, this started 7-8 years ago, the Kurdish region of Iran went from the region with the least consumption of drugs to the worst area effected! From a dozen drug dealers in the whole of Kurdistan to thousands, this is unprecedented and unheard of anywhere else in the world!. This drug business is run by the revolutionary guards, the idea behind it is killing two birds with one stone, make money to fund terror groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and at the same time destroy Kurdish lives and culture. These things pluss the fact that people are literally starving and freezing to death is the main reason why there is so much domestic violence in Iranian Kurdistan, I don't see much reports by Rudaw on these even worse issues!
Karwan | 6/1/2014
Why Obama made peace with bad regime like Iran? He could help make Iran better for all minorities. I don't believe and like his administration.
Dashtaki | 6/1/2014
Lets please admit it that Kurdish men, not villagers, but so called educated city people, are more backward than Yemenis and Afghans when it comes to treating women. Kurdish villagers are pure and never hurt a woman. Village men and women work equally in the field and too often in the village it is the woman who wears the pants and decides for even a whole village. But city men, those who wear suits and ties and are full of self-importance have no tolerance for women chatting on Facebook or having a cell phone. They are suspicious of their sisters and wives and even mothers day and night. Because they judge from their own behavior, how they behave in the market, even shopping malls and the street towards other women, and they worry that someone would do that to their wives and sisters. The Kurdish farmer whose mind is not contaminated by the city is democratic, egalitarian and respectful of his women and others. Honor killing is more common in the towns and cities where people have lost touch with their background and haven't become fully civilized yet. I am a Kurdish farmer and I know this to be true.
Darin | 6/1/2014
According to the BBC’s Persian service blah blah blah, since when the terrorist iranian regime allows foreign journalists and news agencies to work freely in Iran if they not serve the regime's purpose? "About 88 percent of women in Iran’s Kurdistan Province reportedly experience some form of abuse, among the highest in the country" It's obviously just lies and propaganda serve the iranian regime and all the enemies of kurds to stereotype kurds as bad people, and persians are not different than turks and arabs, they don't spare any effort to call kurds everything awful and inhuman and unfortunately Rudaw and writers like Ava Homa helps them. Why BBC’s Persian service didn't write about the ongoing assimilation process of the kurdish women as part of the assimilation process of the whole kurdish society in the occupied east Kurdistan which calls iranian Kurdistan? It's better for BBC’s Persian service to write about the widespread abuse of english women by their english men in United Kingdom. European and american men have no respect for women at all, they use them as sex objects in every aspect of life (just look at the Tv commercials), they rape them and are the most women abusers and killers in the world and they call it as usual "domestic violence".
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