Child Sexual Abuse and Our Iranian Culture
By Poran Poregbal
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 neighbourhoods, 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.
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.
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
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
Poran Poregbal, RSW, MA (pending)
July 9, 2008
I would like to open up a healthy communication about our Iranian culture and what is included. In doing so, we need to
be able to challenge our beliefs about our own culture. Just by analyzing our own culture, we would be able to help our next generations in adjusting in wherever we
live with respect for all cultures they are involved with. we need to set up new boundaries and define many concepts from scratch zero. I would like to encourage
healthy communication, positive participation, and cooperation in respect for building healthy families within our Iranian community. Mental health issues are my main
area of interest where I hope to offer a multicultural sensitive counselling.
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