NCRI - The Secretary-General of the United Nations urged for global action to combat violence against women and girls in advance of the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.
António Guterres said: “Violence against women is fundamentally about power. It will only end when gender equality and the full empowerment of women will be a reality.”
He continued: “There is an increasing recognition that violence against women is a major barrier to the fulfilment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustainable development and sustaining peace.”
Violence against women and girls is the most extreme form of misogyny, encompassing domestic violence, sexual assault, and murder. In the most recent UN report, nearly one-fifth of women aged 15-49, across 87 countries, said that they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in the past 12 months. While in 2012, almost half of all female murder victims worldwide were killed by an intimate partner or family member, compared with just 6% of male murder victims.
In Iran, women are subject to the most appalling forms of state-sponsored violence for the pettiest of ‘crimes’ and their rights are routinely infringed upon. They even rejected a bill which would have made violence against women illegal.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) issued a call to stop this violence and documented some of the most horrendous acts of sexism in 2017 alone.
Women in Iran are forced to obey mandatory veiling laws and are required to wear the hijab at all times whilst out in public.
According to Hossein Ashtari, the Commander of the State Security Force, some 2,000 women a day are arrested for improper hijab, but this number is almost certainly higher because of the sheer number of ‘morality’ militias that roam the streets looking for women to harass. They also routinely inspect government buildings, private offices, and even hospitals.
The women are often beaten by the security forces, arrested, and forced to pay heavy bails in order to escape jail.
So far, under the leadership of ‘moderate’ Hassan Rouhani, 81 women have been executed, including 10 in 2017. While the Iranian courts have handed down a dozen flogging sentences, a stoning, and a blinding against women.
Many women have also been tortured for advocating for women’s rights, asking questions about their loved ones who were murdered by the Regime and objecting to harsh conditions for political prisoners.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that violence against women is commonplace (see the #MeToo movement) - with over 1 in 3 women being a victim during their lifetime- but worryingly normalised with powerful men feeling able to do as they wish.
Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “Sanctions and accountability are critical for behaviour change, and for the coming generations to be socialized differently, so that they know that this is not acceptable.”
She advocated that sanctions against individual men could modify behaviour change but could this work for the Iranian Regime as well? Could the international community put specific sanctions on the Iranian Regime related to state-sponsored violence against women? It would certainly be a good measure to enact.