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Campaigns for the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence in Iran and the World

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women supports whole-heartedly the international campaigns against violence that are held the world over between 25th November and 10th December every year. Every year, during this period millions of people, especially progressive women, the world over, participate in the campaign that culminates on the 10th of December the day of Orange the WorldHuman Rights, and is a manifestation of the integral connection between violence against women and the breach of human rights, in other words, violence against women is the violation of human rights.
The organised struggle of women in these days have been called Orange the World and have the following aims:
Raising awareness of sexual violence and identifying it as a violation of human rights at local, regional and international levels;
Intensifying the local actions regarding sexual violence and creating transparent relations between local and international action towards an end to violence towards women;
Organising networks in which activists can devise, share and promote new strategies against sexual violence;
Raising the profile of women’s solidarity and organizing against violence against women;
Putting pressure on governments to honour their legal undertakings in the field of ending violence against women.
Despite women’s struggle and resolutions passed by the United Nations and other international bodies, statistics continue to point to the spread of violence against women worldwide. “United Nations” has warned that despite efforts violence against women and girls persists in countries all over the world, and that one of the ways to prevent it and to build a world without poverty and violence is to eradicate its roots: gender inequality.
Women’s struggle for eradicating sex discrimination and violence
On the occasion of “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” in most countries in the world, governments and civic and non-governmental organisations generally try to forward their statistics regarding the violence against women and outline the measures that have been taken to eliminate it or to support survivors of such violence. However, in Iran there are no statistics to help understand such violence and one of its versions: domestic violence.
Evidence worldwide suggests that sex discrimination breeds violence against women. In 2014, out of 195 countries in the world, 143 incorporated articles denouncing violence against women in their laws, but the misogynistic regime of Supreme Leader in the Islamic Republic of Iran refuses to do so.
Women in Iran face numerous forms of discrimination in the legal system, the laws that have been devised to return them to the kitchens, to remove them from the social and economic sphere, and to lower their social standing. Laws such as the Law of Ladies’ Part-time Work, the anti-human “Family Bill”, the quota of women for university places, discrimination in management and employment, the Bill of “Veil and Chasity and numerous discriminatory economic, political, cultural measures that the regime has taken in contravention of the approved documents of the Fourth Women’s International Conference in Bejing’. This Conference stated that the governments of the world are duty-bound to create equal opportunities for men and women to access economic resources.
Despite the difficult conditions the struggle of combatant women continues in different forms in Iran, and the meetings that have been held during November, despite all the restrictions on social activities in Iran are evidence of this. The campaigns that are conducted centres on the roots of violence, including domestic violence and it persistence in society.
Below we highlight some of the issues that women activists do in their meetings.
In some of the meetings the point was raised that domestic violence against women is the most common gender-based violence against women, such that nearly 66% of Iranian women will have been subject to violence by their partner at least once in their married life. The adverse effect of this violence does not affect only the direct victim of it but also all members of the family and the society. Depression, anxiety, social isolation, restlessness and sleep deprivation, abortions, runaway girls, suicides, self-immolation, killing of spouse, and many other social ills. Women and civic right activists in Iran demand that legal protection for women should be raised and efforts must be made to change the culture that normalized it.
An activist worker and speaker at the meeting of: “Elimination of Domestic Violence against Women” held on 24th November, brought attention to the fact that the government does not assist women workers, and that this lack of support is one of the main causes of violence. He said: “the Centre for Statistics has announced that at least 12% of Iranian families are headed by a woman. Most of these women are workers and according to evidence a high percentage of them are engaged in the informal sector. Therefore, what exposes these women to violence is perhaps less rooted in cultural problems and more to the government’s lack of support. Paragraph 2 of Article 43 of the constitution states: ‘[creating conditions for] full and equal employment are the responsibility of the state’. When we consider all the laws that are being ignored, it becomes clear why there is no way left for creating employment opportunities for women’.
Iran’s women know well that in order to eliminate violence and its causes, it is important to raise awareness especially amongst workers, office workers, and women heads of household, as the first step in mobilising for a united struggle against the reactionary policies of the regime and its ever escalating state violence. It is important to raise awareness in the society with the aim of eliminating all forms of violence, including domestic violence in our brutalized country. This is part and parcel of the struggle towards rejecting the regime of Supreme Religious Leader and its misogynistic nature and violence.
MaZanan 09.12.2016

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