FEMICIDE MAP 2021
FEMICIDE RATE PER 100,000 INHABITANTS, BY PROVINCE (2021)
WHAT IS FEMICIDE?
The term Femicide came to light when Diana E. H. Russel used the term while testifying to the women attending the first International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women In Brussels, Belgium in 1976. The term is defined as “the killing of females by males because they are female” and it encompasses all types of killing of females. While there is no internationally accepted definition, the term “femicide” is commonly used to describe the intentional killing of women and girls because of their gender. The most severe form of gender-based violence against women and girls, femicide requires the perpetrator to have a gender-related motive for the killing. Such motives may include the desire to exercise power over females or prevent or punish them for socially unacceptable female behavior, assumptions of entitlement and ownership over women and girls, pleasure, or sadistic desires towards females. Most femicides are committed by the victims’ husbands or male relatives in the privacy of the home. Femicides may however also occur in the public sphere and include different modi operandi and relationships between victims and perpetrators.
In the context of the Middle East, including Iran, a common form of femicide are so-called “honor killings,” which are defined as the killing of women and girls for the sake of preserving the family’s honor. The perpetrators are typically male family members who – sometimes with the support of the matriarchs – kill another female family member for acts that allegedly go against societal traditions, wrongly interpreted religious demands, or the family’s reputation. Such acts may include perceived sexual or behavioral transgressions or cases of incest and rape.
LIVES NOT JUST NUMBERS
- Many acts of femicide happen in silence, behind closed doors. Victims are sometimes left on desolate routes or quietly buried, some without headstones that mark their names. For these reasons, obtaining accurate data on femicide is a challenging task. StopFemicideIran assembles statistics and information about cases of femicide in Iran. We utilize multiple sources including local and national news, social media and grassroots reports.
- Although acts of femicid occur in all parts of the country, based on available data, they are most prominent in 5 provinces
- Although given the current laws it is not easy to hold the perpetrators accountable for these murders, from a sociological perspective, it is important to understand the profile of perpetrators who commit these murders. According to the available data, most murders of women are committed by spouses, brothers, and fathers, but they are all committed by sons, cousins, inlaws, and others.
The list of femicides in Iran has been compiled with the utmost care by StopFemicideIran.org, if you know of cases that are not yet included in our overview please report them to us so we can make our overview as complete as possible.
Femicides are under-reported and kept secret for a variety of reasons. Based on the analysis of 191 documented femicide cases in 2022, this report identifies the following patterns:
FEMICIDES ARE PREVALENT, YET UNDER-REPORTED
- The 191 documented femicide cases in 2022 are equivalent to approximately one killing every other day at an average of 16 cases per month.
- Compared to 2021, the number of documented femicide cases increased by 17%. This may be the result of a higher tendency in the society to report cases and an increased rate of femicides implicating the Iranian Government.
YOUNG WOMEN ARE LOSING THEIR LIVES AND THEIR NAMES
- The victims of femicide are predominantly young women between the ages of 20 and 35.
- In nearly 60% of the cases, the victims’ names are not publicly known. This may be part of a strategy to either protect the affected families from societal repercussions or bury the identity of the victims.
- Child marriage puts women and girls at risk of femicide. For instance, in February 2022, a man decapitated his 17-year-old wife, Mona Ghazal Heydari, after she attempted to flee from their home in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, to Turkey because she found herself in an abusive marriage to which she was forced to consent at the age of 12.
NOT AN ETHNIC OR RURAL PROBLEM: FEMICIDE PLAGUES ALL REGIONS
- The majority of Iranian provinces witnessed incidents of femicide in 2022. However, about 30% of all recorded cases (58 cases) were committed in Tehran and a similar percentage (37 cases) occurred in the eastern provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Khuzestan, and Bushehr combined. Thus, nearly half of the documented femicides happened in a relatively small geographic area.
- The documentation shows that five cases of femicide happened in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan. While there may be many reasons for the low number of cases, it is interesting to note that in these provinces, residents generally have limited access to the internet, many do not have identification documents, and government institutions, including law enforcement authorities, are underfunded. Thus, SFI has strong reasons to assume that the actbaual number of femicides is much higher in this province.
PERPETRATORS ARE VIOLENT AND RELENTLESS
- Most victims were either slaughtered (37% of the cases) or shot (nearly 20% of the cases) by the perpetrators. Some modi operandi of the femicides are particularly gruesome.
- In roughly 20% of the cases, the perpetrators used their “bare hands” to kill the victims. They beat or strangled them or threw them from a building.
MOST INTIMATE CONTACTS AS PERPETRATORS
- In 75% of all cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim. In particular, the husband was involved in the commission of the femicide in nearly half of the cases. Other perpetrators included the boyfriend, brother, father, fiancé, family friend, male members of the victim’s family in law, neighbor, son, or uncle.
- In the other roughly 20% of the cases, the perpetrator is unknown or not reported.
Read all key findings here.