Positive Step towards Elimination of Violence...
In Iran, NGOs and women’s rights activists have continuously complained about the existence of various forms of violence against women. In spite of the continued efforts of governmental and nongovernmental institutions to resolve women’s conditions, violence continues to exist within parts of the Iranian society. To this aim, in the recent years governmental bodies have put draft legislation on provision of safety for women in their working agenda. The President’s Deputy on Women’s Affairs, Maasoomeh Ebtekar says: “This draft is in its final stages and it will be sent to the Parliament following the colloquium of the government with the Judiciary. The Members of Parliament are also waiting to receive this draft and stress that colloquiums also be conducted with other institutions following the submission of the draft.”
Iranian Society’s Expectations from the Government Proposed Draft
The “Provision of Safety for Women draft legislation” must be based on the needs of the Iranian society and be able to in practice play an effective role. The passing of new laws will not be worth the paper they are written on if they do not cause further support for women.
In 2015, civil society activists and jurists helped the authorities through the presentation of a draft legislation on the subject coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Their aim was for the Elimination of Domestic Violence against Women Act to be adopted as quickly as possible, through public awareness raising and reaching a consensus within civil society, as part of pubic demand. Recommendations in the form of the draft proposal was submitted to the officials of the 11th Government, but due to the lengthening of the drafting and submission process, it is still not clear how much attention has been given to this.
A Look at the Abuse Situation in Iran
The national research on the study of domestic violence against women in the capitals of 28 provinces of the country is the joint project of the Interior Ministry’s Centre for Women’s Participation and Social Participation with the cooperation of the Sciences Ministry in 5 operational phases and with the review of the views of selected 12,596 women respondents and 2,066 men respondents, on the basis of 100,000 reported case files with regards to family disputes in family courts, the coroner’s, the police and police stations, welfare centres, the Shahid and Janbazan Foundations, in the 1995 to 2001 period and on the basis of 45 indicators related to the level of domestic violence committed against women.
According to this national research, women in Iran are mostly subjected to mental and verbal abuse and after that physical violence. The average of the periods of the lives of women shows that in the first year of marriage, during financial difficulties, pregnancy, postnatal period and middle-ages, are the most violent periods of women’s lives.
Overall, according to this national study, 66 percent of families that were studied, from the start of mutual life to-date had experienced domestic violence at least once, in its general definition, and approximately 30 percent of households, had in their joint life experienced serious physical abuse at least once and 10 percent of households reported abuses which resulted in temporary and or permanent injuries.
Also on this basis, Zahedan has been the city with the highest cases of abuse. The study of the education levels and of individuals struggling with violence also indicates that illiterate individuals witness the most abuses. The unemployed experience the most and the educated the least abuses.
The Law’s Position on the Prevention of Violence
Referring to the influential position of the law, the President’s special assistant on citizen’s rights affairs Shanindokht Molaverdi said: “the stress must be on changes in the law, because this will result in culture building. Another point that attention must be paid to in the drafting of the draft legislation on the protection of women’s rights is that a collective of measures that include protective, support and preventive measures must be included. In the amendment of the law or setting of new law debate, the subject is executive and reformative justice, in this regard attention to some issues such as the elimination of the discriminatory aspects of laws is necessary.”
Saying that domestic violence is just one form of these abuses, she explained: “judges and the police must be aware that domestic violence is not part and parcel in life.” Molaverdi reassured that: “one of the things that must be noted is the breaking of silence against violence. This will result in us preventing individuals from becoming repeat victims of violence. In this regard, the Supreme Leader has said that to fight these conditions, legislative guarantees must be sought.”
Elimination of Violence against Women Draft Legislation Musts and Must nots
Etemad Newspaper journalist Arezou Farshid writes: “Understanding the urgency for the adoption of a law for the elimination of violence against women and provision of safety for them as half of the society, although is a step forward, but it is not enough. The women’s deputy in the 12th government speaks of the finalisation process and colloquium with the Judiciary.
The efforts that have taken place indicate that one day in accordance with the laws of the country we shall witness confronting physical and sexual economic and social abuse against women in the family and society.
Although this matter is a very slow process in the view of critics, and has a long way to go till it’s put into practice, but it cannot be denied that these efforts themselves are promising.” The advisor the legal deputy of the Judiciary, Seyed Ali Kazemi in reply to critics said, “contrary to some claims that say this draft legislation is aimed at weakening the family institution, it places the strengthening of the family institution as main principle. Also we have tried within the criminal justice debates framework to remove wherever there has been a vacuum.”
The review of the Provision of Safety for Women draft legislation will be completed by the Judiciary in the next two months and will be sent to the Parliament for the next stages of the process. This draft legislation defines violence for the first time and details different forms of violence and abuse. Also it covers all women, be they Iranian or foreign nationals. It is hoped that the Islamic Parliament notes the worthiness of this draft.