The Sanctity of the Womb

Unspoken words form a knot in my throat


The Sanctity of the Womb
by LalehGillani

The last rays of the sun stream through the stained glass windows surrounding the altar of a temple, illuminating the corner where an old woman sits beside me in silence. The light refuses to make room for the darkness and somehow reminds the occupants to capture the essence of its radiance in their prayers.

Both of us gaze at the shimmering beam and acknowledge its message with a faint smile. We have found momentary peace in that house of worship with our heads bowed and our lips moving in apparent prayer recited in English.

The reality is different though: The old woman is uttering an ancient Hebrew verse from the Torah; I pray in my ancient tongue to Ahura Mazda for guidance. At the sound of her Hebrew words, I stare at the old woman in disbelief:

“Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee;
Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I consecrated thee.”

A drop of tear still clings to her long, black eye lashes and refuses to roll down her rosy cheeks. A few strands of her blond hair dance on her forehead, celebrating their release from captivity. She is biting her crimson lips to silence her own cries. She weeps with me.

The prison cell was dark when the tormentor had entered it. The light from a small lamp in the narrow hallway illuminated the surroundings momentarily when the door had been opened but could no longer penetrate through the darkness as he drew near. The captive figure lay in fetal position on the cold cement floor draped with a tattered blanket.

Before reaching the prey, the tormentor’s feet were jabbed by a sharp, metal object on the floor and forced to retreat to a safer distance. A slimy, wet but incredibly warm touch had brushed against her bare upper arms as he lowered himself to gaze into her face. A savage look, the touch of a predator, the eclipse of honor. The flesh trembles; the soul refuses to surrender but retreats inch by inch into darkness each time the body is ravaged.

“God has denied human male the power to defile a woman’s womb. The womb is cleansed by blood every lunar cycle,” speaks the old woman while fighting back her tears. “The arrogance of human male is quite comical when it comes to the reality of rape. A man defiles his own soul and rapes himself when he violates the sanctity of a woman’s womb. The gates of heaven are closed to defiled souls for eternity.”

“We live in a hollow cocoon of false honor throughout the Middle East. Women are conditioned to feel shamed when they are raped. We are violated by men and then blamed by other men for dishonoring our families. The victims are punished so that the family honor can be restored. If you ask me, men who commit the act of rape ought to be humiliated and dishonored. Their families ought to rise up to reclaim their soiled name. Castration of the perpetrator is a befitting punishment that cleanses a rapist’s disgrace and that of his family,” preaches the old woman. “Keep your head up, child! Shame walks with him…”

I wrestle with the urge to speak of Mehdi, a teenage prisoner of the Islamic Republic of Iran: What about Mehdi? What about the sanctity of his manhood?

The picturesque landscape of my dreams contains the feral roar of the masses, the unabated amber of rage, justice devoid of mercy, rivers of blood… The unspoken words form a knot in my throat, suffocating me, driving me further and further into darkness.

Will I ever find my way back?


more from LalehGillani

Freedom of Speech

by LalehGillani on

Ramona wrote: “You deserve to be castrated Xerxes! How dare you add insult to injury… Laleh jan, you have my unconditional support…”

I actually enjoy reading comments from the likes of XerXes. It just proves one thing to me: I have touched a nerve. Consequently, he is driven to resort to insults to gratify his own inferiority.

I am a staunch supporter of freedom of speech. For the sake of such freedom, some minor annoyances must be tolerated. Thank you for your kind words.


Laleh jan, thank you and God bless you.

by Yana on

shad zee


Mona 19


by Mona 19 on

مصاحبه‌‌یی که در پیش رو دارید، با یکی از بازداشت شده‌گان دو ماه اخیر صورت گرفته است که برای امنیت شخص مصاحبه شونده، نام و مشخصات وی نزد خبرگزاری هرانا محفوظ است

اگر اعتراف نکنی، به فرزندت تجاوز می‌کنیم  

.لاله جان  قلمت همیشه سبز باد که همواره در راه آزادی و حق طلبی ایرانیان می نگارد.سر افراز باشید. 



Not a Closure…

by LalehGillani on

How do you open a thread of pain one day and close it the next? No, there is no closure. Not for this one.

The images will linger, and the memories will haunt kindred spirits until the end of time. It is our duty and sacred obligation to keep this tale alive. Let not time tarnish this tale nor silence the cries…

Those who come after us must understand the price we paid for their freedom. But most importantly, Persian men must understand that their honor is shielded from the stain of darkness by the dignity and defiance of their women…



by MehammadAli on

thanks , what a thought... its one of the ugliest forms of oppression, i too pray to Ahura Mazda that he may defeat this...

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Thanks for giving a voice to the victims

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Every voice counts! Every action counts!

Jahanshah Rashidian

Naked Violence

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Naked violence is the only necessary factor in IRI concept of curbing people’s uprising. There are now opening statements outspoken by IRI seniors about naked violence. References to khamenei’s and Ahmadinejad’s Friday speeches, the system openly declares war to people.

The leftovers of Ghadessieh regime can only survive in relation to overall application of jihadism. Naked violence, as intrinsically necessary, knows any old method like massacre, rape, enslaving, humiliation since 1400 years.

Conscious history can illustrate more rapes committed by first Muslim occupiers; more tragic dimensions of national disasters are yet burried in the memory of history.

The frame of an initial freedom does not argue the differences between factions of the leftovers of these occupiers, but finally resisting against such a very system as the only necessary step of freedom.


Before and After

by LalehGillani on

Romona wrote: “I applaud your courage to lift your voice and tell your story of pain and heroism.”

This tale of heroism belongs not to me but to all political prisoners who have been raped in the prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran before and after the most recent uprising.

The tale of torture, abuse, rape, and murder in the prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran isn’t new. For thirty years, Iran’s political activists inside and outside the country have exposed these crimes.

At the same time, for thirty years, the leaders of the reformist movement have denied such crimes and have been accomplices to such savagery. After the election though, everything changed. The Green Darlings became the target of such savage acts themselves. Consequently, the truth is being exposed by the likes of Mehdi Karroubi.

The irony is that individuals such as Babak Dad still crave the “old times,” the period of “peace and prosperity” before the election. Karroubi will be perfectly content if Ahmadinejad steps aside and gives the reign of power to the reformists. A few hands will be slapped; A few resignations will follow. A total whitewash…

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a murderous regime and must be destroyed in its entirety! Lock, stock, and barrel…


Breaking the unspeakable silence!

by Ramona on

I applaud your courage to lift your voice and tell your story of pain and heroism. There is light and hope at the end of this dark night of the soul...



My dearest laleh:

by Tahirih on

I cried and cried reading your post. I cried for all the inoccent souls violated by spiritualy blind people. What moved me the most is your last question , my dear sweet Laleh your back, for sure back.  


This one is for you:


We must always look ahead and seek to accomplish in the future what we may have failed to do in the past. Failures, tests, and trials, if we use them correctly, can become the means of purifying our spirit, strengthening our characters, and enable us to rise to greater heights of service to humanity.

Most tender regards,



Well written

by jamshid on

I pray for a day in a future Iran where you and others could write about joyful stories, instead of stories that depict the painful and sad realities of Iran under this corrupt republic of murder and rape.


I Say to You...

by LalehGillani on

Rape is a taboo subject in our culture. We deal with its reality by simply ignoring its existence. I say to you: No more! Break this wall of silence!

Light a candle for the political prisoners in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Honor them and illuminate their path. We shall overcome the darkness…


Zahra Bani-Yaghoub was not

by vildemose on

Zahra Bani-Yaghoub was not a victim of the post election fraud protests. She died in suspicious circumstances while in custody shortly after she had graduated. Yet she too is a victim of Baseej's savagery, lawlessness and unaccountability. See: //

Parvin Nabi, Zahra Bani-Yaghoub's mother met with a group of Mourning Mothers and told them 'Her throat was cut and her legs and thighs were black and blue. I think she died while resisting them. May God never forgive her killers. I will see the day when my daughter's killers are punished. If my daughter's murder was properly investigated then and her killers were brought to justice then, all these officials would not have dared to torture and kill Iran's children today'.

Parvin Nabi has been wearing black every single day since her daughter's murder, she advised the families of post election fraud protests 'Families, especially fathers be supportive of your children, mothers be patient listeners for them, the support of mothers and fathers will hearten the children who have suffered these atrocities, it will bring them out of their depression. Keep praying, it always calms me'

Parvin Nabi continued about her daughter's case, 'The Baseej official told my husband, your daughter was walking with one of the hoodlums in the park. I say so where is the hoodlum? why did you release him and arrest my daughter? they said your daughter was not fit to be a doctor, who is the Baseej to decide who is fit to be a doctor or otherwise? They were so illiterate that if you read their report you would laugh at their spelling mistakes. Imagine if a top graduate medical doctor like my daughter got in the hands of these illiterate thugs and resisted them, what they would do? of course they can not tolerate the likes of her'

'Our youth are dear to us whatever has happened to them. They should hold their heads high and say whatever they have suffered. If my Zahra was alive she would have disgraced a lot of them. The youth should speak out and not fear, they can save those who are in prison now from being tortured and those who will be arrested and tortured in the future.' Parvin Nabi urged the victims.


Reza Hiwa


by Reza Hiwa on

I was moved beyond words after reading your posting.  You have captured that unspeakable pain masterfully.

Please keep posting.