“Even if your husband is a drug addict, if he beats you, just do it and you will see a miracle in your life. Slowly, slowly you’ll give him a massage. And then kiss his feet. As you massage him, you’ll find a way to his heart and he’ll no longer act badly toward you,” said an Iranian marriage expert on state run TV.
Sixty-six percent of Iranian women have experienced domestic violence. To witness a woman claiming to be an expert using her limited appearance on national television to humiliate all victims of abuse is derisory.
The Middle East is a work in progress. As we strive to get our basic rights and needs, as we fight against social injustice and inequality, there still exists a broad range of people with a quaint mentalities that agree with what this expert had to say.
The media reaches and influences people widely. These instruments and what they depict should be used to denounce such uncivilized claims and not otherwise. Every TV station should be very meticulous regarding what it chooses to portray as it affects a large pool of people.
If the media takes the time to focus on these kinds of barbarous allegations instead of focusing on the fact that there aren’t any laws that protect women from domestic violence in Iran, there won’t be a turn over any time soon.
Oppressed women need to feel like they can be heard. They need to feel like they’re not alone and that it’s not their fault they’re getting beaten up every day. They need to feel that they’re in a safe, protected environment in order to report the unexcused violence they experience.
Instead of shedding the light on the abusive nature of domestic violence, Iranian television showed how seriously it takes this issue and how ridiculously it chose to address it.
If a husband beats his wife, it’s not out of jealousy or out of love. It’s not because she has behaved badly. It’s not because she did something wrong. Consequently, it shouldn’t be her job to beg for his forgiveness.
The expert also included in her wise advice to “kiss your husband’s feet.” This exactly shows the disgusting form of submission we’ve been trying to erase for years.
What would a massage really be useful for? Would it heal women’s broken hearts? Would it cure their wounds? Would it restore their dignity?
This abusive tradition and culture that silences persecuted women and teaches them that the abuse they’re going through is normal needs to end now.