Iranian police and the judiciary have provoked the Iranian people’s anger over their lack of response to the domestic violence suffered by Ashraf Sadat Hosseini over the past 27 years.
Most recently, the Tehran resident was stabbed with a machete during a violent assault by her husband and was near death by the time her son, Alireza, arrived home and took her to hospital, which the family can ill-afford.
A journalist who visited her in the hospital reported the following injuries:
- Multiple wounds to her face requiring stitches
- Amputation of several fingers and part of one palm
- Paralysation of the other hand
As with most cases of domestic abuse, this was not the first time. In fact, Hosseini had made statements to the police on multiple occasions – most recently about the time that he hit her over the head with a heavy vase and broke her ribs – but each time, he has been let off, with the police saying that they “couldn’t do anything.”
Her husband sought revenge on Hosseini for making this report to the police. In this respect, he tried to kill her this time, only leaving the scene (and taking one of her fingers) because people turned up.
Hosseini wrote a letter to Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, in which she questioned why the government allows this type of abuse to continue.
“Why shouldn’t the judiciary, the government, and the [Islamic Republic] system support a woman who wants to live with dignity? Why shouldn’t these people be stopped; why does the law not impose restrictions on them?” she wrote.
The Iranian director of Women and Family Affairs, Massoumeh Ebtekar, has remained silent on the issue, which is a growing one in Iran, has increased 15-fold since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Mashhad Welfare Department head Hassan Marvi.
This is particularly concerning, considering that Forensic Medicine Organization head Abbas Masjedi Arani reported that 85,420 women were victims of domestic abuse in 2019, although the true figure is likely much higher.
Not just because of the lack of transparency by the Iranian government, which is the world leader in domestic violence, but also because of the social pressure that would prevent many women from reporting the abuse to police in the first place.
Many may also not report their abuse because they know that the government will not do anything and that reporting the abuse could leave them in real danger of further attacks.