As we approach the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, it becomes imperative to shine a stark light on the relentless state-sponsored violence targeting women and girls in Iran. The NCRI Women’s Committee delves into a series of issues plaguing Iranian women under the iron grip of an oppressive regime.
Decades of rule under a regime entrenched in misogyny have seen women become central targets of state oppression. Emerging from a revolution that sought democratic freedoms, the clerical regime responded by immediately clamping down on women, making them the cornerstone of its oppressive policies. This approach materialized in the imposition of compulsory Hijab as a religious obligation.
The regime institutionalized gender apartheid within the Constitution and enacted stringent penal and civil codes that marginalized and subjugated women. Violence against women and girls in Iran isn’t merely a societal issue; it is institutionalized and state-sanctioned.
State officers enforcing compulsory Hijab have been authorized to perpetrate violence against women and girls in Iran. However, the regime’s most vicious actions are directed at those brave women who dare to challenge its dominance. This historical aggression traces back to the 1980s when young women and girls demanding their democratic rights were violently arrested and incarcerated.
The regime’s brutality knew no limits. Teenage girls were mercilessly executed even without establishing their identities, their deaths a tool to instill fear. Interrogators were permitted to rape female prisoners to extract confessions or coerce cooperation against the nationwide resistance. Families received a box of sweets, a macabre offering after the execution of their daughters, under the belief that virgins would ascend to heaven.
The regime’s atrocities extend far beyond. Pregnant women faced torture and execution, while the elderly and even young girls as tender as 10 or 13 were not spared. The ’80s saw unimaginable horrors—the cage, the coffin, the residential unit, and other grotesque torture methods. Thousands of women were executed for their political opposition, and in the 1988 massacre, countless enlightened women perished, with no survivors among the women’s wards in various prisons.
Amidst this darkness, from their sacrifices emerged a generation of resilient women and girls in Iran. Despite facing the regime’s relentless crackdowns and enduring the worst forms of torture, the Resistance Units in Iran have bravely led anti-regime protests.
The recent nationwide uprising from September 2022 to March 2023 exposed the regime’s brutality. While refraining from opening fire, the regime’s agents perpetrated vile acts against women. Young women faced unimaginable brutality, trapped and surrounded, bludgeoned to death in the streets, or abducted, raped, and tortured to death.
The regime also targeted schoolgirls with chemical attacks aimed to intimidate them from opposing the regime.
This systematic, state-sanctioned violence against women and girls in Iran remains unparalleled in modern history.
On this International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls, the NCRI Women’s Committee honors the courageous women and girls in Iran who stood against savagery, paying a heavy price. Their resilience stands as a testament, fueling the hope for a future where violence and discrimination against women and girls will cease to exist.
A renewed list of Iranian women and girls who laid down their lives during the 2022-2023 protests is our first contribution to the 16 Days of Activism against VAWG in 2023.