Child Sexual Abuse and Our Iranian Culture

In a time of #metoo concept and liberty of talking about sexual abuse, it is painful to see that our Persian culture still is not ready to explore this horrible crime towards our young children.

A large number of people including us Iranians 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 are mostly culturally prohibited to talk about sex and sexuality, not that we are angles, no, because we have not culturally been raised to be our true self. I certainly apologize if I offend some people. We have to have this discussion.

Child sexual abuse is a complex issue that affects every community around the world. Our Iranian inflicted attitude toward children is not certainly the healthiest one in the world. Somehow, we 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. Children will remember and they will suffer what they have gone through as young people.

Pedophiles and perverts exist among every single culture. There are many of them 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 neighbourhoods, teachers in schools, other adults who try to exploit the child in any possible ways.

Sexual abuse of children is a social problem that has to be explored. 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 (maybe 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 (underage), justify the sexual abuse of that girl. How many of us do not have mothers or females in their families who were married away to someone they did not know at a young age? How many of our young girls in Iran are being given to men much older than their age, still, these girls are underage?

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 individuals, families, and communities.

As a therapist I work with numerous females who report having been touched sexually or inappropriately while they never dared to speak up. Few who have reported rape or abuse have been blamed for the crime and punished for the truth.
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 for 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 the most silent and stigmatized people in our Iranian communities. Young victims of sexual abuse are doomed to a lifetime package of guilt, shame, and pain.

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

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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