Few post-election detainees have spoken about about their experiences because they fear not only being re-arrested, but also the stigma of rape that exists in Iran. But social media is one way of bearing witness. The student’s 100-minute testimony is the most detailed account of the treatment of prisoners in Iran since the crackdown began, says Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the New York based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. A 28-minute segment of it has had more than 75,000 views and has been shared widely on social networks including Facebook and Twitter. It has opened up discussion about abuse, torture and rape of ordinary protesters, says Ghaemi, and fuelled his campaign to get the UN to hold Ahmadinejad to account for human rights abuses ahead of his appearance before the assembly in New York.
“The regime has capitalised on not only the fear of retribution but also the social and cultural attitudes towards rape,” explains Ghaemi. “Two years after the post-election crackdown, the Iranian regime is intent on erasing any memory and documentation of the widespread violence it unleashed against protesters. This young woman’s testimony is a brave act of defiance against this trend.”
But the student is part of a younger generation of women who are more willing to challenge traditional attitudes about their position in society, says journalist and women’s rights activist Parvin Ardalan. “Rape is something that is very difficult to talk abou… >>>