Suicide Rate in Iran Continues to Rise
Suicide has become a public health crisis in Iran, as more and more Iranians, especially women and youth, take their own lives. The suicide rate for Iranian women is the highest in the Middle East and is rapidly approaching epidemic levels. Why are Iranians, specifically Iranian women, turning to such desperate measures?
State media reported that the rate of suicide attempts by women rose by 66 percent over a five year period and by 71 percent for men. It is likely that the state underreports suicides, so the increase is probably much higher. This dramatic increase in suicide attempts speaks to the current conditions in Iran under an oppressive theocracy. When women are denied the equality they know they are entitled to, they lose hope. Women in Iran are well-aware that they are being oppressed by a tyrannical regime that places no value on their lives or well-being. They have been deprived of a voice to protest this unfairness. It is no wonder that many women feel so powerless that they turn to suicide.
Just this month, three women died by suicide in a three day period. On April 4th, a 68-year-old woman in the Kouy-e Naft District of Ahwaz self-immolated. On April 5th, a 24-year-old woman in Kamraniyeh leaped to her death from an apartment complex. Then on April 6th, a college student in the Province of Khuzistan hanged herself.
These deaths are part of a systemic pattern of oppression that denies women the power to advocate for their own rights or happiness. Women are limited in their employment and social opportunities, leaving them without a sense of autonomy or any outlet to express their talents or desires. This leads to depression and despair, sometimes culminating in suicide.
Stories of daily oppression by women in Iran are shockingly commonplace. Last year, a girl was arrested and beaten on her 14th birthday for the crime of wearing ripped jeans. Two other women in the city of Dezful were arrested for riding a motorcycle. The women “committed an act against revolutionary norms and values by riding a motorcycle,” according to local police. These stories are emblematic of a larger issue in Iran. Women are not allowed basic autonomy of their bodies or actions.
Further, the regime’s fondness for executions affects the well-being of every man, woman, and child living in Iran. Since January of 2017, the Iranian regime has executed one of its citizens every eight hours. Under this regime of terror, no one is spared the constant fear of death. The mullahs show no hesitation in executing dissidents and people convicted of minor offenses, going so far as to execute numerous juveniles.
As long as the current regime remains in power, suicide will continue to be a part of the reality of daily life in Iran. In addition to misogynistic laws, a culture of oppression permeates every aspect of life in Iran. Income inequality and poverty are widespread issues that rob the people of Iran of hope.
Despite the regime’s attempts to suppress the spirit of its people, Iranian citizens have begun to rise up and demand change. Iranians are tired of a system that leads so many to death at their own hands. They are ready for democracy, freedom, and equality.