Press release March 8, 2023
FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND INTERACTIVE MAP AND REPORT ON FEMICIDE IN IRAN REVEALS A PREVALENCE OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
NEW YORK, NY…On International Women’s Day, StopFemicideIran (SFI), an initiative focused on monitoring femicides in Iran, is releasing its first annual report, the 2022 Report of Femicides in Iran. This breakthrough, first-of-its-kind study tracks and analyzes femicide in Iran, one of the most neglected and terrifying crimes in the world – the intentional murder of women and girls. Through its interactive map, StopFemicideIran allows users to browse the data collected over three years through open data research from 2020 to the present.
Femicides have cut short the lives of girls and women from all walks of life. They have touched families in urban and rural areas and all levels of socio-economic status. Unfortunately, femicides show no sign of abating even as girls and women press back on the prevailing injustices in Iran and the regime struggles to contain the sea of protests that have swept the country.
“Femicides represent the violent extreme of a system that perpetually treats women with discrimination and violence,” said Marjan Keypour, founder of SFI and a long-time human rights activist who advocates for the rights of women and minorities in Iran, “By relegating women and girls to second-class citizenship with a legal status inferior to men, the Iranian regime has created an environment where women and girls lack the right to self determination and are vulnerable to extraordinary degrees of violence.”
There are numerous findings from the report that demand immediate attention:
- FEMICIDES ARE PREVALENT, YET UNDER-REPORTED
The 191 documented femicide cases in 2022 are equivalent to approximately one killing every 36 hours. The actual rate of femicide is believed to be far higher than 600 (per official government’s estimates), however data is scarce due to family dynamics, social pressures, governmental barriers.
- PERPETRATORS ARE VIOLENT AND RELENTLESS
In roughly 20% of the cases, the perpetrators used their “bare hands'' to kill the victims. The murderers beat these girls and women to death, strangled them with their bare hands, or literally threw them from buildings. Most victims were either killed by multiple stab wounds or dismemberment (37% of the cases) or shot (nearly 20% of the cases) by the perpetrators. A 16-year-old girl in Khomeyn who was planning to run away from home was captured by her father and uncle who beat her to death.
- THEY KILL JUST BECAUSE
Family and other disputes (55% of the cases) are the primary excuses that perpetrators cite for committing the femicides. A closer look reveals that some murders arise from tragically mundane occurrences. For example, in August 2022, a man allegedly killed his wife in Tehran for spending too much time on her mobile phone.
- THE NEXT GENERATION IS WATCHING
In 20 cases, the victims’ own children witnessed the femicides and cruel methods of killing. For instance, last November in Khorasan, a man reportedly beat his wife to death while his five children were in the house and then sat with them to eat lunch.
- GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER
While information about criminal investigations into documented acts of femicide often is missing, numerous case reports indicate that perpetrators were not charged with a crime at all or received minimal sentences. For example, in in the case of Mona Ghazal Heydari, apparently assuming that there are no criminal law consequences to their acts, is indicative of the impunity culture.
“For too long, policy makers, even women’s rights activists in the West have dismissed or downplayed the issue, but the widespread neglect of gender-driven violence has contributed to the marginalization of girls and women throughout Iran. It must stop,” said Keypour. “As women are assaulted by the authorities for their choices of clothing, and innocent school girls are poisoned in their schools for their ideas, we’re reminded that the Iranian regime has failed to protect their own people. They have given women and girls no sanctuary from victimization and violence.”
“Femicide is a brutal crime often committed by family and friends, but there is no cultural rationale or religious explanation that can excuse it,” said Keypour. “Such a practice simply has no place in a civilized world. Femicide needs to be stamped out by members of the society and all who cherish women, life and freedom.”
The full report is available on www.StopFemicideIran.org.
Founded in 2020, StopFemicideIran is an initiative of the Alliance for Rights of All Minorities (ARAM) which fights for equal rights for Iran’s women and minorities.