Basiji tells all: Abuse, rape, forced marriage

An Iranian militiaman says women are being sexually abused on the streets of Tehran

Topics: Iran, Broadsheet,

Sexual harassment, forced marriage and rape — it’s just par for the course for Basiji militiamen. In a provocative article in the Jerusalem Post, an anonymous member of Iran’s paramilitary details widespread abuses against young women amid the recent crackdown on opposition protests, as well as violence he previously committed against women awaiting execution.

It’s unclear why, exactly, this militiaman agreed to speak with the press — perhaps because he was recently detained for freeing two teenage protesters without permission, or because the recent violence against peaceful protesters has pushed him to his breaking point. Assuming this anonymous source — who was put in contact with the Post by another anonymous but “reliable source” — is trustworthy, Iran is using boys as young as 14 from small and remote villages to help fight the uprising in Tehran. “These kids do anything they please — forcing people to empty out their wallets, taking whatever they want from stores without paying, and touching young women inappropriately,” he says. “The girls are so frightened that they remain quiet and let them do what they want.”

You Might Also Like

Of course, this anonymous militiaman isn’t an innocent character himself, he’s done his fair share of “touching young women inappropriately.” At age 18, he was “given the ‘honor’ to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death.” It is illegal in Iran to execute a virginal woman, because it’s believed she would go to heaven instead of hell. Executioners attempt to redirect a female prisoner to hell by first marrying her off against her will, often to a prison guard who rapes her after the speedy nuptials.

Predictably, this anonymous Basiji says female prisoners didn’t respond well to being raped on their deathbed: “I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their ‘wedding’ night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning,” he says. The women often fought back, so the guards took to putting sleeping pills in their food. He continues, “By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die.” It gets worse still: “I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over,” he says. “I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her.”

This horrific story could have easily gone without much notice, but it has thankfully rocketed to the top of Digg’s most-popular list and is now making the media and blog rounds. Here’s hoping that’s because the world hasn’t yet forgotten about Iran’s women.

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>