Child Sexual Abuse and Our Iranian Culture

We Iranian do not know much about sexual abuse and we do not want to know. This statement does not say that we do not have the complex problem of sexual abuse within our communities. We have huge problems, still we are covering our heads with blankets to not hear, not feel, not know, and not listen. Why is that? Well, we Iranian are prohibited to talk about sex and sexuality, not that we are angles, no, because we have not culturally been raised to be open-minded. I certainly apologize if I offend some people. We have to have this discussion.

Child sexual abuse is a problem that affects every community around the world. Our attitude toward children is not certainly the healthiest one in the world. We Iranian somehow have learned that children do not understand much and they forget everything that happens to them during the childhood. Metaphorically we say: they will grow and forget. No, they will not. Pedophiles and perverts exist among every single culture. There are many of them in our home country and in our communities. We give them right and access to children by denying the problem itself.

Think carefully and let admit our misconceptions and mistakes. In our Iranian culture, children are sometimes left out to the cruelty of their parents, adults in their neighborhoods, teachers in schools, other adults who try to exploit the child in any possible ways.

This is no surprise that we our Persian culture do not have lawful means to protect our children, no one is protected by law anyway. People are suffering in various levels, individuals, groups. Our communities are mostly in pain that is caused by the chaos of ideology instead of human rights protection.

Sexual abuse of children is a society problem in every country and society. Sexual abuse is an act of crime, done by someone who is close to the child. Studies have shown that teachers, couches, priests, babysitters, grandparents, and parents are the main abusers. Since there is no study about this issue in our Iranian communities (may be I miss that data) it is hard to say what kinds of caregiver have mostly committed this horrible crime.

In many families in our home country who do marry young girls (under age) we do justify the sexual abuse of that girl. We know that many traditional families in our home country they do force their young girls to marry. How many of us do not have mothers or females in their families who were married away to someone they did not know? How many of our young girls in Iran are being given to men much older than their age, still these girls are under age? This is a legitimate form of sexual abuse and rape in our culture. We need to first recognize sexual abuse being a problem that exists and that ruins many communities inside and outside of our home country.

Iranian girls who are being touched sexually or inappropriately would never dare to report that. Few who have reported rape or abuse have been blamed for the crime and punished for the truth. That is a shameful story that has never been acknowledged.

Victims of sexual abuse in our culture are usually forced to be silent, threatened to be punished if they disclose, and left out with the blame of having caused the sexual interaction.

If the walls of fear would fall down, many of these victims would come forward to testify the level of abuse, fear, isolation, emotional trauma, terror, and hurt that they have endured in the hands of those who decided to have sexual gratification with children.

Sexual abuse is a crime. We need to educate people and have them realize that children should be respected sincerely. Children have the right to live and thrive with safety, compassion, and away from harm. Sexual abuse is a crime that leads to physical and emotional abuse.

Sexual abuse victims are most silent and stigmatized people in our Iranian communities. Young victims of sexual abuse are doomed to a life time package of guilt, shame, and pain.

We should realize that sexual abuse is a huge problem that needs to be discussed openly and respectfully in our communities.

We should open up a debate and invite individuals come forward talking about this issue. I guess we do not like to open the can of worms, still the decision is not ours, it is expected of us to do the right thing.

We need to educate our health professionals, our doctors, our nurses and our educators about the devastation of this issue.

We do not talk about sex in our Persian culture. This is a topic that needs clarification, discussion, and education. We can only be authentic and admit that, it is going to take a long time for our Persian culture to start talking about this issue and other problems around sexuality.

If we do not educate our children, we let them be open to exploitation and harm. In our Persian culture we have been forced to silent a long time, it is now time to change that killing silent; it is time to talk about what is an open topic in western cultures.

This topic is one of the hundreds of other topics that need to come to our cultural agenda. When would that be possible? It is hard to say.

Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles June 21,2008 by this author.


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