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Four in 10 LGBT+ Iranians are victims of sexual violence and rape

Four in 10 LGBT+ Iranians are victims of sexual violence and rape

  • Meanwhile 62% suffer violence from their immediate families.
An activist displays a Pride flag in Tehran, Iran.

Over four in 10 LGBT+ Iranians are victims of sexual violence and rape – with much of the abuse coming from their own families.

Moreover, many more families use physical violence against LGBT+ people. And many face violence and sexual abuse outside the home – at school, university and in public.

That’s according to the latest research from leading Iranian LGBT+ organization 6Rang.

Shadi Amin, executive director 6Rang, said:

‘The results of this survey show that sexual violence and abuse in the family and in public spaces, workplace and educational settings are usually silenced without punishment and accountability for the perpetrators.

‘This community is even more deprived of the protection of the law and the judiciary than women.

‘Conversely, if they go to the police, they can be subjected to compounded violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, or face criminal charges.’

Much of the abuse in Iran doesn’t attract public attention as LGBT+ people are too fearful to speak out.

However, teens have previously shared their shocking stories of growing up in the country. Last year some opened up about the killings and death threats they witnessed and endured.

Abuse in school, from family and friends

Indeed, GSN reported this year Iran has refused to stop jailing and executing people for homosexuality. Iran has defended the cruel judicial murders on the basis of its ‘moral principles’.

In fact, when it replied to the United Nations about the demand, it ‘turned a blind eye to the very existence of LGB persons,’ 6Rang said.

The new survey from the organization spoke to LGBT+ Iranians, most of whom were under 35 years old.

It found 62% of them had suffered one or more kinds of violence from their immediate family. In almost a third of cases, that was sexual violence and for 77% it was physical violence. More than one in three are under pressure to enter a forced marriage.

Meanwhile 15% have been victims of sexual violence at school or university. And 30% of them have been victims of sexual violence by their peers. 42% experienced sexual violence in public spaces.

Nowhere to turn

Despite this, more than two thirds ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ seek justice for the crimes they suffer.

That’s largely because 19 of the 230 people in the survey say the police have arrested them for being LGBT+.

Moreover, the police are also attackers. After arrest, 28% of them experienced physical and verbal violence and 13% of them experienced sexual violence.

The report is called Hidden Wounds: A Research Report on Violence Against LGBTI in Iran.

It highlights the fact that LGBT+ Iranians have little support or nowhere to turn.

Workplaces, sports centers, colleagues and friends are all sources of violence.

Meanwhile exactly two-thirds said they never or rarely confide in medical professionals about the abuse they experience. And over half say their family are ‘unreliable and unsupportive’.

Against this backdrop, 73% have considered suicide to some extent.

Amin added:

‘This situation is a stark reminder of a lack of an up-to-date community of psychologists, psychoanalysts and counsellors who can rely on freedom of expression and shows the responsibility and importance of having such institutions in a society.

‘Lacking these will continue to damage the LGBTI community in a different way everyday.’