In Breaking Silence about Sexual Crimes We Will Ensure that Such Violations Will Be Punished

 Justice for Iran asks of everyone who themselves or their loved ones were victims of sexual crimes or for whatever reason have information about such crimes to contact us and aid us in shedding light on the truth about the circumstances surrounding such crimes as well as hold the actors and perpetrators accountable for their violations. Indeed this is a necessary step in stopping sexual torture and aiding in the healing of the wounds of those victimized by it.

 It is difficult to speak of the maladies that befall the victims of sexual torture in prison, be it verbal, physical or in their extreme case, rape. This is not only due to the social and cultural taboos and family and political considerations that enchains the victim in a prison of shame and decency, but also because every reference to the incident brings about unnecessary pain.

In spite of all the hurt the remembering and retelling of such experiences can bring, we believe that without such retelling, without shedding light on the realities of what transpires behind prison walls, in the interrogation rooms, in solitary cells, in the prison clinic, in the bathroom and even on transit from one prison to another, there can be no hope that the actors and perpetrators of such crimes will step out of the shadows presently encapsulating their names and faces and stand accountable to the society and public opinions. Such retelling will also legitimize the pain and suffering of the victim and their families and help their healing which in turn, brings the society one step closer to peace and democracy.

To this end, Justice for Iran has started a project titled “Crime without Punishment.” The goal of this project is to document and clarify the truths surrounding sexual torture of female political prisoners in the three-decade life span of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We will not stop at mere documenting but will also try to publish the truth about this topic in three thematic reports covering the decade after the revolution or 1979 to 1989, the decade following or 1989 to 1999 and the post 2009 election crackdowns. With publishing these reports, we hope to increase public understanding in a local and international scale surrounding sexual torture in Iranian prisons as well as aid the starting of a social discourse around the methods of preventing such tortures. In the end, our goal is holding actors and perpetrators of sexual torture accountable and having them stand trial using international legal and political tools.

Our attempts in reaching these goals have so far been widely helped and overwhelmingly welcomed by former political prisoners, families of the victims, women rights activists and human rights activists. In spite of that, we are in need of more help due to lack of documentation in sexual matters, difficulty of collecting such information, cultural taboos that force women into silence, and concern of the victims over the return of the physical and mental problems caused by retelling the incident and other such concerns. In particular, we face many ambiguous cases from the first decade of the revolution about which there are little to no information, for instance the rape of virgin girls prior to executing them as well as forced marriage of imprisoned girls with their interrogators and other judicial officials in the 80’s.

Justice for Iran asks of all who themselves or their loved ones were victims of sexual torture, or those who have information about such incidents, even if they heard if from a neighbor and assumed it to be of no relevant importance, to contact us and aid in shedding light on the matter and holding the actors and perpetrators accountable. This is a necessary step in stopping sexual violence and healing the wounds of the victims and their families. Any information, no matter how insignificant and small it appears to be, can greatly aid the completion of a legal case file. In our interpretations of it, sexual torture encompasses a wide range of actions including placing a female prisoner in a room alone with a male authority figure, feeling the threat of rape, inquiry on personal matters, sexual abuse including using sexually explicit terms or humiliating sexual innuendos, threat of rape or sexual abuse, proposing establishing of a friendly sexual relationship, intentional physical contact of the authorities with the prisoner, physical sexual abuse,  physical sexual torture and rape. The first installment of this project will be limited to female prisoners due to our limited resources and the wide range of sexual torture suffered by women.

We must break the silence today to prevent this crime from remaining without a punishment!

To send information about sexual torture of female political prisoners, contact us thought our email atinfor@justiceforiran.org.

If you live in Iran, protect yourself by contacting us through unknown and disposable emails or give your information to your friends and acquaintances outside the country and ask them to hand over those information to Justice for Iran.