Soheila Sanamno

Tabriz (Iran), Iranian

Women of the extended family sharing food during a ceremony in the local cemetery to
commemorate the death of Roghayyeh’s brother.
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Statement: Rape destroys the victim’s future. In Iran the punishment for sexual offenders is the death penalty, but women remain extremely vulnerable in a rape case as the harsh punishment does not solve the problems the victim will face within society. Roghayyeh is a 26 years old girl who was raped in her 20’s. Iranian society, particularly the legal system, perceives the virginity of an unmarried woman as a signifier of her chastity and for Roghayyeh losing her virginity outside marriage is perceived as a colossal disaster for both her and her family. Not only might it ruin her marriage prospects, it will have an impact on both her honor and her father’s. There is a large rock in the landscape that resembles a couple. A legend tells of a young girl who proposed to a boy and as they hugged each other, being unrelated, villagers believe that God turned them into stone. In such a closed culture, women in small villages marry in their adolescence, and Roghayyeh in rural Azerbaijan is already considered a spinster. She is not her perpetrator’s only victim, yet in such a narrow minded society she is inevitably doomed and would be forced to marry an old man or a widower.

Roghayyeh in the room where she usually sleeps, stands alone below family photos. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh in the room where she usually sleeps, stands alone below family photos.
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Rape destroys the victim’s future.

In Iran the punishment for sexual offenders is the death penalty, but women remain extremely vulnerable in a rape case as the harsh punishment does not solve the problems the victim will face within society. Roghayyeh is a 26 years old girl who was raped in her 20’s. Iranian society, particularly the legal system, perceives the virginity of an unmarried woman as a signifier of her chastity and for Roghayyeh losing her virginity outside marriage is perceived as a colossal disaster for both her and her family. Not only might it ruin her marriage prospects, it will have an impact on both her honor and her father’s. There is a large rock in the landscape that resembles a couple. A legend tells of a young girl who proposed to a boy and as they hugged each other, being unrelated, villagers believe that God turned them into stone. In such a closed culture, women in small villages marry in their adolescence, and Roghayyeh in rural Azerbaijan is already considered a spinster. She is not her perpetrator’s only victim, yet in such a narrow minded society she is inevitably doomed and would be forced to marry an old man or a widower.

Gazing in the mirror. She feels time ticking away and there is no marriage proposal. Iranian society, particularly the legal system, perceives the virginity of an unmarried woman as a signifier of her chastity and losing her virginity outside marriage is perceived as a colossal disaster for both her and her family. Not only might it ruin her marriage prospects, it will have an impact on her honor and her father’s honor. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Gazing in the mirror. She feels time ticking away and there is no marriage proposal. Iranian
society, particularly the legal system, perceives the virginity of an unmarried woman as a signifier
of her chastity and losing her virginity outside marriage is perceived as a colossal disaster for both
her and her family. Not only might it ruin her marriage prospects, it will have an impact on her
honor and her father’s honor. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh, her sister-in-law and her nephews in the living room of the family’s house. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh, her sister-in-law and her nephews in the living room of the family’s house.
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh is seen adjusting her chador after collecting herbs in the fields on the outskirts of Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh is seen adjusting her chador after collecting herbs in the fields on the outskirts of
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

The courtyard outside the house. Roghayyeh and the other women in the family are making provisions for the coming winter months. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

The courtyard outside the house. Roghayyeh and the other women in the family are making
provisions for the coming winter months.
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh with her nephew on her back while picking herbs in the fields outside the village. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh with her nephew on her back while picking herbs in the fields outside the village.
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

 

 

 

The countryside on the fringes of Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

The countryside on the fringes of Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh stands beside Azar her sister-in-law who is holding her son. They weave the carpet in their free time, carpet drafts are seen behind them. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh stands beside Azar her sister-in-law who is holding her son. They weave the carpet
in their free time, carpet drafts are seen behind them. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh leaning against a wodden pole and absorbed in her thoughts is reflected in a mirror on the mud wall. By losing her virginity she also lost hope for her future. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh leaning against a wodden pole and absorbed in her thoughts is reflected in a mirror on the mud wall. By losing her virginity she also lost hope for her future. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh and her in law sister Azar stand below a large rock that resembles a couple on the outskirts of the village. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran. 9/22/2014. A legend tells of a young girl who proposed to a boy and as they hugged each other, being unrelated, villagers believe that God turned them into stone.

Roghayyeh and her in law sister Azar stand below a large rock that resembles a couple on the outskirts of the village. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran. 9/22/2014.
A legend tells of a young girl who proposed to a boy and as they hugged each other, being unrelated, villagers believe that God turned them into stone.

Roghayyeh and her in-law sister riding through the village on their way back home from the fields. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh and her in-law sister riding through the village on their way back home from the
fields.
Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh’s brother family in their living room. They are the most sensible and normal within her extended family. Yet no one cares about Roghayyeh. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.

Roghayyeh’s brother family in their living room. They are the most sensible and normal within
her extended family. Yet no one cares about Roghayyeh. Ajabshir, East Azerbaijan, Iran.