Forced marriage is the main reason for suicide among Iranian girls
Under the mullahs’ rule, and amid economic and political crises, Iran faces an increase in suicide as part of a pervasive social phenomenon. People commit suicide when they have cut off all social ties; detachment from sympathy and solidarity can also lead to suicide. Therefore, Iranians – especially women – are committing suicide because they have no ambition in life. People in Iranian society feel lonely and helpless, and the factors contributing to social isolation and suicide multiply daily.
Distrusting the regime is the main factor leading to suicide
In an interview about the increase in suicides in Iran, Amanullah Gharaee-Moghadam, a sociologist and university professor, acknowledged that one of the main reasons for suicide in Iranian society is that people distrust government officials. He added, “The environment in today’s society is conducive to suicide. There are countless reasons for sadness in the country – from the dress code to the music heard in the media. We do not have just one or two problems; we have unemployment, where 30% of the country’s graduates are not working. People do not work in their fields of study. Society is devoid of happiness or hope.”
Elsewhere, Gharaee addressed the ruling authorities, saying, “They say, ‘give birth to more babies!’” They have told girls that their hair was seen. Did they become religious? The structure in Iran is sick. You cannot force society to observe rules from 100 years ago. Today, young people see, hear, and read. They observe the world through their computers.”
High suicide rates in some provinces
Among other Iranian provinces, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Ilam have the highest suicide rates. Forced and early marriage among girls is also very common in these provinces; this is an important factor in the cause of suicide. “In the last 3-4 years, about 60 people, most of them women, have committed suicide in the town,” said a Dishmuk city council member (The state-run ILNA news agency – February 14, 2021).
Suicide due to forced marriage
In a tiny sample, the marriages of 37 girls under the age of 15 were registered just in the small city of Khoda-Afarin in East Azarbaijan province during the 10 months of late 2020 and early 2021 (The state-run Rokna News Agency – February 19, 2021).
Many early marriages cause irreparable damage. In most cases, young girls drop out of school; many end up divorced and see no choice but to end their lives.
It should be noted that government agencies always downplay or deny real statistics.
- On January 23, 2021, Anahita Shahidi, an 18-year-old from Sepidar village, Yasuj city, committed suicide due to her opposition to forced marriage. Anahita’s family wanted to force her to marry her cousin. She committed suicide while alone at home.
- On March 18, 2021, Sahar Fakheri, 20, committed suicide using a shotgun in the city of Boyer-Ahmad in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province for opposing the forced marriage.
- In the latest example, a 15-year-old girl committed suicide in Taybad city, located in Khorasan Razavi province. The girl was the victim of child marriage. Javad Afereidon, the public relations manager of the city’s health network, announced that the young girl had recently gotten married and committed suicide by ingesting rice pills (aluminum phosphide) (the state-run ISNA News Agency – March 24, 2021).
Increase in suicide in one year
A government official in the Forensic Medicine Organization announced that between March 21, 2020, and November 20, 2020, the rate of suicide has increased by 4.2 percent, compared to the same period of the previous year (the state-run Etemad Daily – February 18, 2021).
“According to psychiatrists, to understand the severity of untreated depression in Iranian society, we must increase the number of suicide victims by at least 20 or 30 times to identify the actual number of suicide attempts,” wrote the state-run Etemad Newspaper. The newspaper cited unemployment, high prices, and heavy economic pressure as factors in increased suicides (the state-run Etemad Daily – February 18, 2021).
In Ramhormoz, in the wake of student suicides due to poverty and a lack of access to online education and mobile phones, the guidance office banned the publication of suicide news by order of the Governor (Ramhormoz City Governorate, based on a document dated November 9, 2020).
On January 25, 2021, two schoolgirls in Dezful committed suicide and died after ingesting rice pills.
On January 26, 2021, two girls in Gorgan threw themselves off a pedestrian bridge and were seriously injured (the state-run ISNA News Agency – January 26, 2021).
The main factors that increase the risk of suicide
The leading cause of suicide in Iran is the dictatorial rule of the mullahs and the lack of freedom, especially for women.
“A small part of the social protests is taking on violence and serial suicide, and most of the protests could soon spread across the country, like the 2017 and 2019 protests,” according to a state-run newspaper (the state-run daily Jahanesanat – June 13, 2020).
Beyond all the frustration surrounding the mullahs’ misogynistic rule and overall distrust in the government, protests such as those in 2017 and 2019 are on the rise. The fact that more people are protesting gives hope to the Iranian people for the eventual overthrow of the regime.