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Fighting Violence against Women in IRI

Fighting Violence against Women in IRI

In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Fighting Violence against Women in IRI
Zahra Amin-Majd
All through the history,perceiving women as inferior creatures has donemuch injustice toward them, including the sense of humiliation and underestimation of their insight and attitude, discrimination, and deprivation of fundamental natural rights. Although all manifestations of Institutionalized oppression against women are considered as deviation from human nature and transcendental monotheism and divine theology of Islam, they are as old as mans social life.
Therefore, the divine prophets have dedicated a considerable concern to remove perverted conceptions about women – while managing to correct humans all other perverted thoughtssimultaneously. However, due to the old history and the firm dogma ofwomans inferiority concepts and according social structures, there has been significant resistance in this respect; some forms of these resistanceshave been embodied in distortion of the Sharias. The resistance for the reforms in this area has occurred along with other forms of human resistance to accomplish changes toward monotheist thoughts. Abolition of arrogant regime and rebellionsin Gods command and denial of all forms of social oppression including familial ones are among different manifestations of these resistances.
The monotheistic religions endeavors have been organized and concluded in Islam (as the last monotheistic religion) with a developed, holistic, and strong perspective. Based on its metaphysical content and its potentials in obtaining all sublime objectives and functions in all arenas, Islamprovides the equal access of all human beings to sublime life in both worlds. Meanwhile, regarding the consideration of humiliating concepts related to women, the significant oppression against them, and achieving the desired status, Islam has contributed more significantly and extensively than other religions.
With respect to human status, the equality of men and women has been asserted clearly by Islam, and all the requirements have been clarified. A vast campaign against the pre-Islam tradition of burying the girls alive (vead) to defend the womens right to life; addressing seriously the aspersion (calumniating womens honor) to protect their honor; to emphasize the material and spiritual needs of women in the family; and to benefit from the favorable social conditions to grow and reach the perfect possibilities of a human being through individual and social moral codes like chastity to ensure a healthy and safe society for every one especially the women are among the attempts undertaken by Islam in terms of womens human rights.
According to Islam, the value devoted to men and women is equal and the criterionfor this value is their access to salvation. Faith, good deeds, and morality are the required factors to achieve salvation. Based on Islam, men and women enjoy the same potentials to achieve salvation through the mentioned factors. However, despite the general equality of men and women, Islam maintains genetic, and therefore, religious differences between the two. Nevertheless, the differences have nothing to do with their access to the salvation. This has been supported by academic research and impartial investigations .
Holy Quran has indicted a unique decisiveness in this regard. "Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do ." (Quran 16:97). This certainty in emphasizing equal access of men and women to salvation and perfection cannot be found in any other languages.
However, Islams decisiveness in this issue does not mean that the genetic differences of women and men have been ignored or denied. On their path toward the best system of life, men and women enjoy significant genetic differences; physical – physiological and psychological ones. These differences have been addressed accurately and adequately in Islam. To neglect or to focus too much on them has always made the scene to oppress the women. On the one hand there is an exploitation of womens body and beauty under the tempting feministic rhetoric and the degradation and oppression of women in the name lower physical power and their second degree statues to the men by capitalism; and on the other hand, we have witnessed a great distance from the pure religious thoughts which contains all real beneficial considerations of all human beings including the women.
As every action is affected by interactive system of meaning and itsencompassing structure, Islam has planned to cause change in both levels. To fight injustice against women, Islam has intended to reform the general ideological system and individual thoughts on the one hand, and to make human social life religious through establishing Islamic states.
Due to the historically institutionalized oppression against women, spread of anti-woman ideas from one point of view and considering womens especial physiology in comparison with that of a man, the issue of violence against women has been addressed seriously in Islam. Nevertheless, it is not only the women who have been introduced as the victims of violence, Islam is essentially against all forms and agents of violence.
If fact, all Islam is after is to create favorable living conditions based on monotheistic ideas through realization of Sharias principles in this world and in hereafter. That is why there is no room for extremist or unfair biases of a group or a partyin Islam and real interest of people are not scarified for the represented interests of arrogant regimes apparatus. This is the dominant characteristic of the modern world and especially that of the capitalism. Therefore, the so-called equality of men and womens rights is acclaimed but the real interests of women have not been considered and discrimination and oppression against them are still to be continued.
According to Islam there is no barrier on the way to salvation for women. As the obstacles are removed for men – and the two sexes undoubted differences are not denied- women enjoy the same graces by being kept away from the borders of indignity and debasement.
As mentioned earlier, Islam approaches the violence as a non-gender issue. Essentially, Gods attribute of mercy and the prophets titles of "thebest of peoples " and a person "refraining violence and toughness " and the consistency of these attributes in his noble descendants have depicted Islam with an integrated image of mercy and nonviolence in all levels.
Moreover, the religious systems generally and the religious statements especially stand rigidly in denying and fighting against all manifestations of violence in human relationships. Harassment (annoying others in any way), oppression (do others injustice at any level), wrath (to become angry and to express the rage),uncouthness (cursing), bad temper (any bad behavior or abuse), rebel("baghi", violating others rights), arrogance (to be scornful and lofty), assault(to hit others), buffet (to slap someone in face), battery (to injure someone), murder (to kill someone), insult (to curse or abuse someone verbally), caustic remark (using sarcasm), naming (to call people bad names), cures (to insult some body verbally), intonation change (to change ones intonation to scorn others), backbiting (to say something unpleasant about someone who is absent), hostility (to treat someone as an enemy), vilification (to attach false attributes to someone), Mera (to interrupt or disturb someones speech to insult or scorn that person or for a show off), controversy (to discuss with hostility), to blaspheme ( to mistreat), to startle (to scare or terrify someone), breach (to break a vow), obscurity (being in difficulty), mockery (to make fun of someone), obstinacy (to insist on doing something with hostility), and rape (to force someone to do something by means violence) are clues which have been referred to as instances of violence in Islamic texts (Qurans verses and prophets hadiths) and Islamic sharia has stood severely against them .
Islamic texts generally and Holy Qurans verses specifically have described instances of violence against women and undertook to eliminate them . Mainly, violence against women could be divided into structural violence (which is the result of different socio-cultural structures, etc. in a given society) and individual violence (which has individual human as the agent). Moreover, violence could be apparent or hidden. Furthermore, violent might be of emotional,instrumental, acute, immediate or planned, reactive or proactive, and physical or psychological types. However, violence against women includes a wide range from humiliation, inferiority, verbal abuse, assault and battery, deprivation of social human rights, misuse, lack of respect for their sexual privacy, chastity, etc. Being imposed to corrupted sexual life, to abort, to be exposed to insecure social atmospheres, and briefly being exposed to all modern and traditional examples of violence against women are all prohibited from Islamic point of view as indecent and obscene factors. Therefore, due to the pure monotheistic thoughts of Islam, Iranian women have never experienced the violence in the depth and breadth of the violence women are dealing with in other parts of the world especially western societies. Thanks to the Islamic thoughts, after the Islamic Revolution of Iran, women have enjoyed high dignity and human rights. They have been protected against sexual and psychological violence because of family structure and chastity promoting policies.
However, widespread cases of violence against western or subordinated women are reported in academic papers and mainstream media. For instance, on average 3 women are killed by their husbands or partners in the United States every day. 1246 women have been murdered by their husbands in 2000 . 28% of the American women and 25% of the Belgian and Norwegian women have experienced physical violence by their partners . In Canada 62% of the female victims of the murder has been killed by their sex partners .
As a state founded on the pure Islamic teachings, IRI has made significant endeavors in this respect. We are going to study the typology of these attempts and some related explanations. Worth-noting that as the bases of political, cultural, and social thoughts of IRI are rooted in pure Islamic thoughts, the practical content of this field- like all other fields- has many affinities with Islamic thoughts. What will follow is the description of the Islamic thoughts in the issue. For example we discuss that IRI trains people in selecting their spouse, it means that this training is to meet their financial and spiritual interests in the framework of Islamic thoughts. Accordingly, any description given on pure Islamic thoughts is also an explanation on the practical insight and orientation of IRI in this regard.
1-Endeavors to Reform Individuals Systems of Meaning in order to eliminate all Forms of Violence against Women
Consistent with the former efforts to establish Islamic justice and to organize the Islamic society according to religious life patterns, the IRI has made extensive considerable contributions in this regard.
1-1 Improving the systems of meaning for individual humans in formal educational system
From the very beginning of the Islamic Revolution, and specifically after the Cultural Revolution, religious reform against the secular and antireligious content of the educational programs in primary, secondary, and high levels of education emerged. Meanwhile, there were considerable undertakings to clarify the gender issue from a religious point of view. According to this clarification, women enjoy the same basic rights as the men while genetic and religious differences are admitted. However, neither do these differences make any differences in evaluating them in the value system nor do they make the scene ready for exploitation of the women.
Based on Islamic ideology, in the family man is in charge of the woman but in a supportive, emotional, and nonviolent way. Although men are endowed with more physical strength, this strength should only serve the family and facilitate the material lives of his spouse and his children. That is how based on plural statements, the family relations are regulated in a way that true peace and comfort of the family members, including that of the womans, are taken into the consideration and the manifestations of domestic violence are disappeared.
Domestic violence is only one of the manifestations of violence against women. From one point of view, violence is divided into different types based on perpetrators, victims, and the quality. From another point of view, the violence could be physical, psychological, social or familial.
As mentioned before, the IRI has always been looking forward to eliminate all forms and levels of violence against women through the formal educational system. On this way, the main undertaking has been the elimination of domestic and familial violence in the one hand and making the scene ready for elimination of social violence from another hand. Some statements from both levels will follow.
A) Elimination of domestic and familial violence against women
A-1- Significance of selecting spouse
Islam is strictly concerned about selecting spouse of the same religion. Regarding the husbands, there are certain criteria of which the ethics and temperament are the most significant one. There could be found many references to this matter in Islamic tradition. Responding to a Muslim who was asking about letting his daughter marry a bad-tempered man or not, Imam Reza answered: "don’t let them marry, if he is bad-tempered."
This is a very important factor in preventing future potential physical and psychological violence which has roots in the spouses behavior. Men with backgrounds of violent behaviors should think of serious behavior modification before getting married.
There are positive aspects to be considered for marriage in a higher level."Let your daughter marry a pious and virtuous man, because if he happens to love her, he will respect her, and if he doesn’t, he will not do her injustice," said Imam Hassan (peace be upon him) to a Muslim man.
Accordingly, IRI has undertaken to teach these standards in two main levels: 1. Extensive trainings in formal and informal educational systems in the form of family package (with the main purpose of strengthening the families in selecting spouses for their children). 2- Premarital education for the youth in the age of marriage (officially done during the secondary and high education period).
A-2- Focusing on mans extensive responsibilities toward his wife
Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) has emphasized on three required factors in husband- wife relations: first tolerance, second well-behaving and good-temper toward the wife to win her love and heart by paying attention to her appearance, and last being generous with her.
What is apparent based on the mentioned tradition and other traditions, in addition to certainty of meeting the financial needs of the women in the family; to meet the emotional and sexual needs of the women also has been emphasized. This is to enjoy a suitable family life without contempt and reproach for the women. Putting women in financial-economic, or emotional- behavioral pressure (in different levels) is one of the main grounds for applying violence against them. Moreover, many forms of psychological violence against women will be prevented by respecting Islamic guides in terms of honoring them , having tolerance toward them, and ignoring their mistakes in the family. Therefore, one can see that Islamic approach is preventive toward the violence against women.
A-3- Focusing on the anger management issues and domestic violence through concentrating on gender roles and their moral perspectives for women
Moral Aspects of Women Roles
Making women aware of mens emotional and sexual needs by using their physiological capacity of "being a place of sowing of seed"is one of the main undertakings.
Taking the issue of womens positive and non-humiliating adherence to her husband and the issue of womens chastity and fidelity into the consideration will provide the basis for elimination of violence against women. Otherwise stating, this way the excuses and willingness for relationships outside marriage on the behalf of the men will reduce. So will be the case betrayal and behavioral abnormalities among spouses.
A-4- Preparing the ground for elimination of violence against women through appropriate informal education for the girls and boys to accept their gender roles in a balanced Islamic family is among the considerations which have been thought by Islam to achieve the sublime purposes. Due to the mutual respect between mother and father in an Islamic family, children are enjoying higher level of peace of mind and security and lower level of violence. As considered- although a limited number of considerations discussed due to the limitations- there is an extensive endeavors to eliminate the violence against women in the Islamic family.
B- The Elimination of Violence against Women in the Society
Promoting the protective pattern of husbands towards the women is one of the main themes of Islamic effort for elimination of violence against women.
On the one hand, Mens responsibilities in economic, moral, and sexual protection of the women in the family; and their zealous support to ensure the social security of women on the other hand have prepared the ground for accomplishment of elimination of violence against women in society.
Moreover, to establish chastity-based structures which regulate social interactions based on human virtues and characteristics and not sexual extensions will eliminate the instrumental look towards women. Islamic perception maintains that respecting the elements of chastity including proper religious dressing for everybody generally, and women specifically, will protect the women against misuse, rape , sexual verbal violence, and physical harassments which are products of sexual attractions.
Besides, having social justice, poverty alleviation, public access to health, education, proper nutrition, adequate housing, social security ,etc. as the main principles have made Islamic thought an inappropriate ground to grow considerable forms of violence against women. While the equal rights of men and women have not been realized in terms of income/wage [in western societies], from Islamic perspective they should be paid equally for equal work. There are many examples of these types which indicate the Islamic thoughts preoccupation with the idea of establishment of true social justice. However, humans true interests are not victimized in them; nor are the gender differences ignored to cause another form of oppression or sacrifice one sexs interest in favor of the other sexs interest.
2-1- Reforming System of Meanings of the Individual Human in the Informal Educational System
Family and the media are the bases of informal educational system. As discussed before the formal educational system of IRI along with the media are affecting the informal educational system through influencing individuals system of meaningfamily members, the individuals dominant system of meaning related to family, forming it, pursuing it, and training the children in the family could be effective in reducing violence against women. Meanwhile, the media have contributed to elimination of all forms of violence against women both through modifying the attitudes toward them based on an Islamic pattern and more apparently through direct criticism of all forms of the violence against women.
A study of the informal educational system, similar to the formal one, leads us to the conclusion that IRI has been doing better than other international instances regarding fighting violence and respecting women. Taking womens spiritual growth into account and emphasizing on non-instrumental use of the women in the media are extensive and widespread.
Accordingly the media in general, and visual media in specific, have concentrated on presenting an objective and operational pattern of a woman, a family, and an Islamic society to facilitate a nonviolent and peaceful life for all members of the Islamic society. Moreover, presenting a transcendental image of a balanced woman, depicting the pattern women , and modifying the attitudes toward women by using those patterns are other steps trodden to honor the women and to eliminate many forms of violence especially psychological violence caused by humiliation and degrading behaviors. Celebrating womens status by dedicating one week in the year to them and commemorating their human and moral values in different occasions- such as the special day for women during the ten days ceremony of the anniversary of the IRIs Islamic Revolution- are examples of IRI undertakings to remind the public opinions of the values of women.
2- Endeavors to reform the structures in the Islamic society in order to eliminate all forms of violence against women
As discussed above, IRI has undertaken to change the societys approach and attitudes in the level of the system of the meaning.Therefore, most of these undertakings have been categorized as preventive measures. However, treatment and correction also have been taken into consideration along with preventive actions. Thus, the consulting service based on objective- scientific realities and especially religious principles and patterns –which are concentrated mostly on humans real interests - were created. This way, treating the perpetrators of violence against women and aggressive people and meanwhile correcting the ideas and thoughts in family and society has been on the agenda.
Nevertheless, along with adapting Islamic gender patterns of values and priorities, improving the structures has been taken into a serious consideration to eliminate the violence against women and above that to revere women in the family and in the society.
2-1- Reforming the Legal Structures
To change the Constitution was placed on the top of the agenda of the IRI in reforming the legal structures. Like men, women are granted all requirements to achieve their basic rights according to the Constitution.
According to Article 2 of the Chapter I, "The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in: … the exalted dignity and value of man, and his freedom coupled with responsibility before God;in which equity, justice, political, economic, social, and cultural independence, and national solidarity are secured by recourse to … negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and the submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and its acceptance."
Moreover, Article 3 of the same chapter states:
In order to attain the objectives specified in Article 2, the government of the IRI has the duty of directing all its resources to the following goals:
1. The creation of a favorable environment for the growth of moral virtues based on faith and piety and the struggle against all forms of vice and corruption;
2. Raising the level of public awareness in all areas, through the proper use of the press, mass media, and other means;
3. Free education and physical training for everyone at all levels, and the facilitation and expansion of higher education;
4. Strengthening the spirit of inquiry, investigation, and innovation in all areas of science, technology, and culture, as well as Islamic studies, by establishing research centers and encouraging researchers;
7. Ensuring political and social freedoms within the framework of the law;
8. The participation of the entire people in determining their political, economic, social, and cultural destiny;
9. The abolition of all forms of undesirable discrimination and the provision of equitable opportunities for all, in both the material and intellectual spheres;
12. The planning of a correct and just economic system, in accordance with Islamic criteria in order to create welfare, eliminate poverty, and abolish all forms of deprivation with respect to food, housing, work, health care, and the provision of social insurance for all;
13. The attainment of self-sufficiency in scientific, technological, industrial, agricultural, and military domains, and other similar spheres;
14. Securing the multifarious rights of all citizens, both women and men, and providing legal protection for all, as well as the equality of-all before the law; 15. The expansion and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and public cooperation among all the people;
Based on Article 10:
"Since the family is the fundamental unit of Islamic society, all laws, regulations, and pertinent programs must tend to facilitate the formation of a family,and to safeguard its sanctity and the stability of family relations on the basis of the law and the ethics of Islam."
Furthermore, according to Article 20:
"All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria."
Under Article 21, "The government must ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria, and accomplish the following goals:
1. Create a favorable environment for the growth of womans personality and the restoration of her rights, both the material and intellectual;
2. The protection of mothers, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing, and the protection of children without guardians;
3. Establishing competent courts to protect and preserve the family;
4. The provision of special insurance for widows, and aged women and women without support;
5. The awarding of guardianship of children to worthy mothers..."
As mentioned above, and emphasized by the writers and legislators explicitly all above statements specifically and all fundamental rights generally are non-gender, therefore, include both women and men.
Not only do these rules make a favorable ground for elimination of all forms of violence, but in a higher level they make the scene ready for a comprehensive growth and improvement of women.
The Civil Law also has had widespread considerations on the dignity of women, their individual and social rights, and elimination of violence against them. Some of the privileges of women rights in the Civil Code will follow.
1- According to Article 1118,"The wife can independently do what she likes with her own property" which is not incompatible with receiving alimony.
2- Womens right to enjoy condition to the marriage;
According to Article 1119, "The parties [including women of course] to the marriage can stipulate any condition to the marriage which is not incompatible with the nature of the contract of marriage.
3- Women right of cancellation of marriageprovided the settled mans madness (Article 1121).
Madness is classified intomomentary, permanent or recurrent types. According to this article, there is no difference between permanent or recurrent madness.
4- Women right to recoverable divorce:
The couple should live in the same house three months after recoverable divorce. Man should pay the alimony during this period and woman will inherit estate in the case of mans death. Moreover, if man decides to remarry during this period, it has to be under the permission of the first wife or the court.
5- Women enjoy other rights according to Civil Code. For instance, "the right to cancelation of the marriage is granted to the either of the married couple if the claim an attribute which turn not to be right; for example a non- physician man who claims to be a physician. A woman can use her waiver right and receive compensation instead. A family can keep a record of the claimed attributes to use the right to cancel the marriage if necessary."
The women are granted privileges according to the Civil Code, including:
1- The right to receive dowry even before the consummation of marriage (according to the Civil Codes wife will be entitled to half of the marriage portion (dowry) in the case of divorce before the consummation of the marriage).
2- Womens right in the issue of cancelation of the marriage;
As a common right, the cancelation of the marriage is entitled to both wife and husband and not to one especial gender.
3- Wives right to receive alimony (maintenance);
This right is entitled once the marriage contract is signed.
4- Wifes right to choose the place of living;
Wives can enjoy the right to choose the place of residence if it is stipulated in marriage contract as a condition.
5- Wifes right to leave the husbands house if there is a risk of physical, financial, or honor harm.
6- According to Article 1085 of the Civil Code: "So long as the marriage portion is not delivered to her, the wife can refuseto fulfill the duties which she has to her husband …This refusal does not debar her from right of maintenanceexpenses."
7- Article 1128 of the Civil Codes states:
"If a special qualification is mentioned, as a condition of the marriage, toexist in one of the marrying parties and if after the marriage it is found out that the partyconcerned lacks the desired qualification, the other party has the right to cancel themarriage." A wife can cancel the marriage by notification in the case of mans impotency if she brings the case to the court and medical examiner and they wont find any treatment after one year.
The Islamic Penal Code of IRIalso has significant considerations in this regard. Full Diyat [blood money] will be entitled to a woman whose genital has been severed as a result of incontinence during a matrimonial intercourseas an instance of these considerations. Dead penalty for rape is another one. Entitling thedefense resulted in murder or injuryas self-defense if it has been done in response to sexual assaults is another consideration of this type.
Moreover, according to Article 642 of the Islamic Penal Code, "Anyone who fails to pay his wife’s alimony (nafaqaor maintenance), while he has the financial ability, subject to the wife’s tamkin (obedience), or fails to pay other members of his family that he is legally responsible to pay their alimony, shall be sentenced by court to three months and one day to five months’ imprisonment." Apparently, the economic interests of women are countedin order to prevent manifestations of psychological violence against women.
There are other significant considerations which have concentrated on elimination of violence in the written laws of the IRI; some examples will follow:
- Especial considerations for widowed or divorced women or those who have disabled spouse in Parenting Law of the Coordinate Payment System.
- Establishment of the Special Law of Ensuring the women and children without guardian.
- Prohibition of assigning the difficult or harmful and night jobs to women according to the Labor Law.
Furthermore, womens rights and legal responsibilities have been taken into consideration in IRIs legal responsibilities have been taken into consideration in IRIs Charter of Womens Rights and Responsibilities including:
- The right to have access to legal training;
- The right to receive legal measures and judicial support in order to prevent and eliminate the crime and the oppression against women in the family and society;
- The right to enjoy special family courts in order to safeguard the privacy of thefamily, reconciliation and resolution of conflict in the family;
- The right to have access to female police and disciplinary forces in case ofaggressive behavior, being charged or commission of a crime;
- The right to have judiciary and legal posts according to the law;
- The right to take legal action in the courts of justice and other legal authorities;
-The right to benefit from an attorney and legal consultant in the courts and otherlegal authorities;
- The right to comprehensive judiciary support against factors leading to crimeagainst women or to crimes committed by women;
- The right of accused women to be protected from having her honor abused, fromdefamation, and from being individually and socially punished beyond the legalpunishment;
- The right to be exempted from punishment when there are factors which canremove the penal responsibility;
-The right to have their reputation restored for defamation due to a judgesinaccurate judgment or mistake in relation to the accused or in issuing the verdict and tocompensation for spiritual and material damages;

- The right to have their sentence reduced or to be pardoned in case of repentanceand in the presence of proof that the repentance is authentic on the part of femaledelinquents, as well as at the time of pregnancy, breastfeeding and illness;
- The right to see parents, children and husband while in prison according to theregulations of the country;
- The right to enjoy the appropriate hygienic, cultural and educational facilities inprisons aimed at rehabilitation and a return to a healthy social life;
- The right of girls to be imprisoned at special youth centers where appropriatespecial facilities for their rehabilitation and expert social workers would be at theirdisposal;
- The right to file complaints against government regulations or government orjudiciary officials in order to attain their own rights;
- The right and responsibility towards testifying in courts in compliance with legal andreligious standards;
- The right to enjoy judiciary support, applied by Prosecutor General against adisqualified legal guardian or provider, or other violators of her legitimate rights;
In addition to the mentioned instances, women are present significantly in both legal decision-making level and legislative level in different intuitions in the IRI. Parliament members, Parliament Women Fraction, Women and Family Socio-Cultural Council – as a high decision-making authority and institution in family/ women issues- Women and Family Affairs Vice President, and women affairs advisors to ministers and governors are instances indicating the womens presence and dedication.
In general, the Constitutional and non-constitutional laws of the IRI have comprehensive perspectives to eliminate violence against women in individual and structural levels. This undertaking is followed and done through removing all negative integrating structures- in which, for example, the physical condition of the women and womens gender roles are ignored- from one hand, and fighting all discriminative structure from the other hand; i.e., through the establishment of gender equality .
Legal approach toward the issue of violence against women is a combination of positive and negative approaches. Otherwise stating, it is concentrating on fighting against all manifestations of the violence against women (negative approaches) and making the favorable environment to eliminate that violence (positive approaches) .
2-2- To Reform the Economic Structures
Despite capitalisms claims on the equality of men and women, the true economic equality has not been realized in any of the worlds regions. According to Islamic ideology, women should be paid equally with men for the equal work; they should enjoy equal social insurance; fighting poverty shouldn’t be done on a gender basis; and Islam is totally against the idea of feminine basis of the poverty.
IRIhas followed a profound economic planning in this regard. Focusing on family as a unified whole, concentrating on meeting its needs, financial support for working women, entrepreneurs, heads of household, families with women as the guardians, under inappropriate guardians or with disabled children are some of the undertakings done in this respect.
The efforts to reform the macroeconomic structures and to benefit from public civil and welfare infrastructures have not been gender based at all. Moreover, vulnerable women have been taken into especial considerations in the issues related to governments tax incomes. Therefore, in IRI, the structures and systems are in favor of the women and at the service of eliminating oppressions and discriminations against them.Through macroeconomic structural reform and legal reinforcement of those reforms, IRI have been looking forward to eliminate senses of poverty and discrimination which are among the main manifestations of structural violence against women.
In order to adjust the stated propositions which meet womens benefits, Womens Social and Cultural Council proposed Supreme Cultural Revolution Council to adopt Charter of Womens rights and Responsibilities in IRI. One of the chapters of the Charter lists womens rights and responsibilities in economic participation as follows:
A)Financial Rights and Responsibilities in the Family
- The right to receive alimony (maintenance) in permanent marriage from the husband proportionateto woman’s prestige and from the father or child if they are financially capable and if thewoman is in need;
- The right to benefit from the estate of the deceased and to financial bequestsaccording to Islamic rulings;
- The right of endowment, and of receiving and charge of endowment;
- The right to determine the dowry, to obtain it from the husband and to do whatevershe wishes with it;
- The right to receive her fathers, husbands or childrens pension in case of death,according to the law or contract;
- The right to benefit from the retirement pension of a deceased woman employee forher legal heirs;
- The right to accept financial guardianship of the children and responsibility toobserve the childrens financial rights;
- The right of women and girls to benefit from the necessary support in case of poverty,divorce, disability, lack of guardian, under an inappropriate guardian, and to have accessto required facilities for rehabilitation and self- sufficiency;
- The right to get wages from the husband for doing household chores upon herrequest and to protection as a result of her effects on the family economy and nationalrevenue;
B) Womens Rights and Responsibilities regarding Employment and EconomicParticipation
- The right to own capital and private property and to benefit from it in accordancewith legal and religious regulations;
- The right to sign contracts and unilateral treaties;
- The right to work after reaching legal age for employment, the freedom to choose ajob, and use personal capital along with their responsibility toward respecting Islamicregulations on earning and spending;
- The right to have access to information, training and appropriate expertise aimed atacquiring qualifications for appropriate employment, and the right to be supported insuch fields for female single-parents, or women without providers;
- The right to benefit from job counseling and recruitment by women;
- The right to benefit from wages and equal privileges with men and other womenunder equal work conditions;
- The right to benefit from job security, ethical respect, and an immune atmospherefrom social hazards and the responsibility to observe modesty at workplace;
- The right to be exempted from compulsory, dangerous, hard and harmful work;
- The right to enjoy facilities, rules, and laws consistent with family responsibilitiestaking into account that she is a spouse and mother during recruiting, employment, promotions and retirement;
- The right to benefit from social security and economic facilities;
- The right to participate in economic policymaking, as well as in the establishmentand management of economic institutions and membership in them;
- The right and responsibility to receive and pay blood money along with collateraldamages in accordance with the related laws and regulations;
- The right to benefit from appropriate and effective legal support in order to preventthe exploitation, trafficking and employment of women and girls in illegal and unlawfuloccupations;
Therefore, the grounds for manifestations of any types of violence or economic oppression and discrimination against women in a legal way have been eliminated.
2-3- To Reform the Political Structures
Based on Islamic ideology and emphasized by the Constitution, political participation is one of the womens fundamental rights in the Islamic regime. Both formal and informal systems of education grant women the right to be trained and to participate in political issue in all levels. From one point of view, women acquire enough authority and power to partake in political interactions in different areas like becoming parliament members, minsters, and high advisors in administration.
Womens participation in IRI enjoys two unique sublime characteristics:
Firstly, it is a fair participation based on individual proficiencies and meritocratic criteria and not sexual appeal as a rent. Moreover, psychological wellbeing, social security, and chastity are the factors which protect women against different problems. Not only will these factors do no harm to family as the most fundamental unite of the society through protecting womens wellbeing, but they reinforce the bases of this sacred institution.
Secondly, it is not a symbolic act or a show off. Womens political participation is not a political show off of the political parties and is not done only for the sake of achieving justifying statistical figures. On the contrary, it is undertaken due to the regimes premise in benefiting from extensive, committed, and competent skills of the professional women.
Humiliation and dissatisfaction women experience as a result of the lack of effective participation or being manipulated in realization of political partys objectives are the two instances of the factors which expose women to structural oppressions in the world of politics.
From IRIs point of view, the mentioned senses are instances of psychological violence against women and should be avoided and eliminated through structural and institutional undertakings. Fortunately, the presence of the women in managerial, social, and political areas and their effective functionality as sociopolitical actors signifies the accomplishment of the objectives.
IRIs Charter of Womens Rights and Responsibilities has compiled descriptive statements regarding the political rights and responsibilities of women. Taking the following statements into the consideration, the undertakings in entrusting the society of women psychological peace and security will become apparent.
A) Women’s Rights and Responsibilities in Domestic Politics
-The right and responsibility to have access to information and to partake and play arole in determining the fate of nation in preserving and strengthening the Islamic system;
-The right and responsibility to participate in and supervise over social affairs inorder to lead society towards spirituality and moral virtues ridding it of moral andbehavioral ills;
-The right to the freedom of the press, speech and assembly with the observance ofregulations.
- The right to form political parties and other political bodies and to partake in themwhile safeguarding the independence of the country, national integrity and interests ofthe Islamic system.
- The right to participate in elections, to be elected as members of the parliament aswell as city and other councils, and the right to participate in the government planningprocess and to hold high ranking executive posts in accordance with related regulations.
B) Women’s Rights and Responsibilities in International Politics
- The right and responsibility to be informed of global political developments, withspecial focus on the Islamic world;
- The right to develop communication and to exchange productive politicalinformation between the women of Iran and the world while respecting nationalinterests and legal regulations;
- The right and responsibility of active and effective participation at Islamic, regional, and international conventions in particular those related to women’s issues while observing legal standards;
- The responsibility to do their utmost best to strengthen solidarity among Muslimwomen and to support the rights of the deprived and oppressed women and childrenaround the world;
-The right of women refugees in the Islamic Republic to enjoy security, health andthe possibility of returning to their homeland;
-The right of Iranian women nationals to government support confronting thenationals of other countries within the framework of regulations and treaties.
- The right to benefit from legal support regarding marriage and establishing a family with non-Iranian men while observing the related laws and regulations.
2-4- Reforming Scio-cultural Structures
Since the true persistent cultural reform occurs from within human individuals and through changing the insight and attitude of the actors in the level of their systems of meaning, all the efforts made on the path through formal and informal education are to eliminate all forms of violence against women and will be classified as structural reforms in sociocultural values.
Furthermore, IRI consider the cultural structures such as human dignity, social identity which are based on ethical norms- according to the progressive thoughts of Islam-and innate and acquired valuesof human individuals as non-gender principles. After the revival of Islamic culture in Iran, women found their true sublime human identity on which the cultural structures have been established.
The cultural taste of consumption has been produced based on womens true interests and benefits including chastity, family-centered patterns, and womens sublime human dignity. Accordingly, the cultural products such as book, magazine, movie, and TV series do not include any indication of immoral scenes orlicentious behaviors. This is true while women of the world are experiencing widespreadpsychological, physical, and sexual manifestations of violence.
Studying IRIs Charter regarding womens cultural and spiritual rights and responsibilitieswill lead to significant considerations of the system on psychological security of the women in sociocultural issues.
A) Pop Culture
- The right and responsibility to acquire and increase knowledge in terms of her ownpersonality, rights, and role in different arenas of life in accordance with the sacredstandards of Islam;
- The right to be immune from the verbal and behavioral abuse of others andresponsibility of treating members of society with respect;
- The right and responsibility to observethe Islamic codes of dress and theresponsibility to observe chastity in society;
- The right and responsibility to raise the level of religious and human awareness, to beimmune from and work toward removing cultural and moral degeneration,
- The right to participate in religious, cultural, and political gatherings;
- The right to produce beneficial cultural goods and programs according to Islamicstandards and to profit from them;
- The right to establish and manage cultural and artistic centers and organizations inorder to train responsible and professional women dedicated to developing their culturalactivities;
-The right to exchange information and to take part in constructive culturalcommunications at the national and international levels;
-The right and responsibility toward spreading Islamic culture and knowledge and topresent a model of the Muslim woman at the national and international levels;
- The right and responsibility toward creating moral and religious solidarity regardingwomen’s issues around the world;
- The right to takepart in policymaking, lawmaking, supervision and executive phases ofcultural affairs, particularly, women’s issues;
- The right and responsibility to be informed of and to acquire the necessary skillsrelated to home and family management, child rearing, and effective confrontationagainst cultural and social ills.
- The right to continual supervision over the cultural activities relevant to women inorder to safeguard woman’s personality, honor and human dignity in production ofcultural materials;
-The right to take advantage of cultural centers which are exclusively for women whileobserving Islamic standards, taking into account their physical and spiritual uniqueness. Deprived regions have priority for establishment of such centers;
- The right of socially disturbed and vulnerable women to enjoythe appropriatesupport in order to improve their cultural status and that of the society as well;
-The responsibility to preserve their cultural independence, their Islamic-Iranianidentity and national integrity in cultural and educational activities;
B) Education (since a significant share of vulnerability to acceptviolence on the behalf of the women is due to cultural ignorance and poverty, true educational justice could be one major step toward elimination of violence against women).
-The right to public literacy, to educational advancement and to benefit fromeducational and training facilities;
- The right to enjoy higher education up to the highest scientific level;
-The right to master expertise in special fields, both quantitatively and qualitatively, up to the highest levels;
- The right of women and girls from impoverished areas to benefit from special supportin education;
- The right and responsibility to design school and educational textbooks;
-The right and responsibility to enjoy a worthy status in harmony with their role, dignity and status in educational texts;
- The right to participate in policymaking, decision making and management ofacademic and scientific affairs; and to active participation at national and internationalscientific and cultural gathering;
-The right to recognize, support, and benefit from the capabilities of women withoutstanding talents and their responsibility to help meet the countrys needs;
- The right to enjoy necessary support in the field of education, access to highereducation, and technical and vocational training for women with physical and mentaldisabilities proportionate to their talents and extent of disability;

C) Research
- The right to carry out research, author, translate and publish books, articles ingeneral and specialized publications while observing authenticity, honesty, and theinterests of the community;
- The right to enjoy necessary support regarding sources and facilities for research onwomen’s issues, academic training for researchers and the right to have access toinformation and research findings in different fields;
- The right to benefit from support for scientific and research work and to developresearch centers under women’s management;
- The responsibility of women researchers to present their views and explain theirpositive religious and national findings on women’s issues to the nation and the world;
In addition to the above examples, there are apparent policies to protect womens physical and psychological health in IRI. No need to say that these policies are to fight and eliminate all forms of violence against women.
Womens Physical and Psychological Rights and Responsibilities
- The right to enjoy physical and psychological health in individual, social, and familiallife considering women’s characteristics at different stages of life and their responsibilitytoward preserving it;
- The right to enjoy healthy and sanitarily fit environment (at work, the home, etc.) and the right tobenefit from the related necessary training;
-The right to participate in process of policymaking, lawmaking, management, executive affairs andsupervision in the field of health and rehabilitation processes, particularly in fields exclusively related towomen;
- The right to enjoy appropriate health-treatment plans and facilities for women for the prevention ofdisease and treatment of physical diseases and psychological disorders related to women;
- The right to select doctors and centers providing health services, on the basis of Islamic rules andmedical scientific standards and to enjoy the appropriate and adequate information to make informedand better choices;
- The right to be informed and play a part in decision making relevant to fertilizationand family planning;
- The right to have full and fair access to sports facilities, athletic training and appropriate recreationalactivities;
- The right to develop their athletic talents and to attend sports fields both at the national andinternational levels in a way as compatible with the Islamic standard;
- The right to benefit from the right of fertilization, pregnancy and delivery as well as postpartumhealth care through benefiting from women specialists and to prevention from common diseases amongwomen, venereal diseases and sterility;
- The right to benefit from counseling services and medical tests in order to ensure that the husbandenjoys full health at the time of getting married, and that he has no medical problems relating to marriedlife;
- The right of girls without guardians, divorcees, widows, the elderly to benefit from public insurance,relief services and private insurance particularly in the medical and rehabilitation fields;
- The right of women who are physically, mentally or psychologically disabled or abused to benefitfrom support and proper rehabilitation;
-The right to enjoy proper nutrition, particularly during the period of pregnancy andbreastfeeding, and the responsibility to take care of the infant and his/her propernutrition, giving priority to nursing with mother’s milk;
Therefore, IRIs endeavors to reform the individuals system of meaning in order to eliminate violence against women and to reform the structures accordingly have been widespread and significant. The stated endeavors to reform individuals thoughts have been pursued in both formal and informal systems of education. Moreover, many reforms have been witnessed in legal, economic, political, and sociocultural structures.
These reforms are practically perceptible in womens lived experience. Direct legal, cultural, and political experiences added to positive judicial interventions in favor of womens security have significantly improved womens situation regarding the violence issue. However, in IRI violence against women has been discussed as a case study, because it has never been a social problem unlike the western countries where it is anincreasingly institutionalized issue.
Considering the domination of pure Islamic thoughts and laws in IRI, all structural and intellectual capacities and grounds are generally are provided to eliminate the violence against women and thus, they are significantly privileged.Consequently, the examples of violence against women are certainly the results of individual human shortcomings and not structural backgrounds.
Peace and Gods blessing be upon you!

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