On January 3, the Iranian regime adopted the Protection of Dignity and Support for Women Against Violence bill and presented it to the parliament on January 14.
The parliament has not yet announced receipt of the bill, which does not bode well. After all, the parliament already had a 39-page plan regarding violence against women that was delivered in December but has not been approved.
Sadly, the bill will not protect women from violence. It does not define what violence against women is in law and, therefore, cannot make it illegal. In addition, it lacks transparency and precision throughout. To make matters worse, many forms of violence against women are not outlawed, including early marriages and sexual exploitation. It also fails to identify the support needed by female victims of domestic abuse.
All of this is the direct result of the whittling down of the bill since its proposal in 2011.
Former MP Parvaneh Salahshouri said: “Even if the bill is adopted, the conditions would only get worse for women. The present bill has removed the phrase ‘violence against women’, factoring out or somehow changing the parts on security of women. As a result, the bill has lost its goal.”
To give a specific example of how this bill will not help women, it says that if a woman complains to the Judiciary and State Security Force agencies about violence, she has suffered that there are obliged to open a case and act without delay. This all sounds good until you realise that there is a different system if her attacker was her husband or her father, which is likely because most violence against women comes from a relative.
This alternate system involves referring the case to the Council for Resolving Differences to aid in “reconciliation” between a woman and her attacker, only moving onto a court case after a month. This delay will stop women receiving help or coming forward at all.
All the while, Iran is the world record hold in domestic violence against women, with 66% of Iranian women reporting experiencing it. This tragic situation has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, with social ills expert Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar reporting that domestic violence numbers between April and July 2020 exceeding that of the previous year.
The Iranian legal system sanctions a man’s verbal, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of women, including the murder of those he is related to. Women are denied security, dignity, and equality, which will continue so long as the regime is in power.