Patriarchal Laws, a changing society and overlooked forms of intimate partner violence: a focus on Iran

Anahita Movassagh Riegler

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated] As societies progress they become more supportive of gender equality and less tolerant of violence. One consequence of this shift in social attitudes is the expansion of definitions of violence to include a wider range of behaviour. However, even today the law in various countries is inconsistent in acknowledging and responding to all forms of intimate partner violence (IPV). Depending on the perspective of IPV taken the forms of violence included in the definition can vary considerably. Most studies have focused on IPV against women, and mainly the focus has been on physical, sexual, emotional and psychological forms of violence. Other forms of violence such as damage to property, economic, social, educational or intellectual, spiritual, legal or administrative, and verbal forms of violence in many cases have been overlooked. This thesis provides a comprehensive definition of IPV that can be applied to the human rights perspective of IPV.
IPV is rooted in the inequality of power between men and women. The State plays a key role in the allocation of rights and responsibilities of husbands and wives and thereby the allocation of power between men and women. In countries where patriarchal attitudes are dominant, such as in some Muslim countries, State laws provide men with more rights and place them in a superior position to women. In many cases this difference in rights has been justified on the basis of Sharia. This is also the case in Iran. Nonetheless, Iran is undergoing change with both men and women becoming supportive of gender equality, including legal equality.
This research was conducted with the purpose of investigating whether the State of Iran, through Iranian family law, tolerates or permits some forms of IPV against women and whether, as a result of the socio-cultural changes which Iran is experiencing and the growing support for gender equality both among men and women, patriarchal Iranian family law sufficiently protects either sex from IPV.
This investigation has been pursued through an examination of the results of various surveys which have examined IPV. These include the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), Violence Against Women (VAW), National Crime Victimisation Surveys (NCVS) and attitude surveys that have been conducted in Iran, Australia, U.S. and worldwide. The research draws on literature on culture, religion and IPV, and laws and regulations which directly or indirectly deal with IPV.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Carroll, Robyn, Supervisor
  • Morgan, Frank, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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