Wives Who Kill Their Husbands (Showhar-koshi)

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Nahid Tavassoli, Director and Editor in Chief of NAFeH (a literary, cultural, and artistic magazine), holds a PhD and an MA in Ancient Iranian Culture and Languages from Azad University, Tehran, and a BA in English Literature from Allaameh Tabaatabaee University, Tehran. She is a writer, publisher, and women’s rights activist, whose articles have appeared in daily newspapers and literary and cultural magazines such as Adineh, Iran-e farda, Payaam-e Hajar, Vohuman, Hasti, and Chisstaa. She has also been interviewed on women’s issues and on various aspects of the Iranian social and cultural reality by the Iranian networks Radio Farhang, Goftogoo, Arab, and IRITV (Universal one "English Language"), as well as by Radio Farda, BBC Persian, Deutsche Welle, Radio Portugal (on women’s issues and literature), VOA (Voice of America), Persian TV Washington D.C., and Radio Zamaneh.Dr. Tavassoli is a member of the "Iranian Women Journalists Association", she is one of the founders of the Iranian Women’s Party, and a member of free press in Iran, as well as one of the first supporters of the movement "One Million Signatures" and a member of “Forum of Mothers for Peace”. Her dedication to women’s issues finds expression in her work on a new up-to-date reinterpretation of the Holy Book, the Koran. She is the author of the short-story collection*Doushizeh Agni* (Miss Agni, publ.1999), and of a collection of articles,interviews and lectures on women’s issues titled *Cheraa khaab-e zan chap ast?* (Why are Women's Dream False?, publ. 2005).

Showhar-koshi (husband-murdering), is a new bitter phenomenon in Iran, which gained prominence over the last two decades. In judicial terms, it is being considered under the article "Murders within the family”, which is spread in many other parts of the world, no matter whether eastern Moslem societies, or western Christian/ Judaism societies.
In the traditional, deeply religious tribal societies of the East, women who experienced violence and abuse at the hands of male relatives (fathers, brothers, or husbands) would commit suicide or self burning, a way out of the cycle of hatred and contempt, which they could no longer countenance. Nowadays, in Iran, many old patriarchal taboos are being destroyed, due to the changes in Iranian society mostly on account of the Islamic Revolution in 1979; due to new interpretations of religious texts; and through greater access to information via international telecommunications and the internet. Now, aware of their human rights, women are claiming their subjectivity, and learning to act and behave in accordance with their female and maternal rights.
This paper will examine some statistical data on husband- murdering and the circumstances in which such acts were committed. It proposes that this new phenomenon in Iran is, in fact, a continuation of the older problem of violence within the family, and a reflection of the changing relationship between the sexes, specifically in Iran (although occurring in many other western/Christian-Judaism societies, too): Instead of committing suicide or self-burning, female victims of violence within the family now more often lash out at their male abusers.
As part of this investigation, the paper analyses sociological, psychological, sexual, social, cultural, and economic problems which attend the transformations occuring in Iran’s traditional tribal communities, as they move towards a modern society. The paper also examines critically factors like compulsory permanent and temporary marriage, which play a role in the phenomenon of husband-murdering in Iran.

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