Iranian TV host suggests wives should put up with decades of beatings

Iranian state television has sparked widespread outrage for airing an interview which suggested it was possible to forgive a husband for two decades of beatings.

The TV outlet broadcast an interview with a self-described abusive husband, his wife and two of their young daughters.

According to Radio Free Europe, the husband said the family had managed to stay together despite two decades of beatings and 27 attempts by his wife to divorce him.

The TV show, which is called Formula One, has been accused of normalising violence against women and encouraging victims to stay with abusive partners.

It attempts to demonstrate that abusive husbands can reform themselves and women forgive them, sparking fierce criticism from politicians and members of the public.

The husband, who does the majority of the talking in the interview, said that the couple divorced at one point but stayed apart for just 60 days.

“We would miss each other … A phone call, and we were together again,” the man said.

He quipped that they deserved a spot on the list of Guinness World Records for their numerous divorce requests.

After establishing the man had first beaten his wife “on the first night of our marriage,” the host laughed and replied: “What a thing to do.”

“We are not promoting it, and we are not saying what he did was wrong,” the host then adds.

The wife sought to defend her husband several times despite at times appearing uncomfortable during the interview.

“Not really,” she said, appearing to smile uneasily, when pressed about whether she had objected the first time her husband hit her.

“What does that mean,” the host then said. After she looked at her husband, the host asked her again, saying: “You thought: ‘My husband must beat me.'”

“No,” she said, adding: “I was upset with him, but I was a kid. I was 16. I did not know much.”

Massumeh Ebetkar, the vice president for women’s and family issues in Iran, hit out at the interview through messaging app Telegram, which was banned in Iran last year.

“A common life in the shadow of beatings?” she asked. “What is the point of this interview? Are you presenting this image of a married life to encourage the youth, particularly girls, to get married? Or are these models aimed at normalising violence against women?”

Parvaneh Mafi, who heads a women’s group in the parliament, argued the interview endorsed domestic violence against women while weakening their place in families.

“How would you feel if a man says with a laugh to the camera that he has been beating his wife from the first day of their marriage while a woman who is sitting next to their daughters talks about multiple unsuccessful attempts at divorce?” he said in a letter to state broadcasting director Ali Askari.

Some 60 per cent of Iranian women have experienced domestic violence at least once in their life, according to official data.

Last year, Iranian state TV was forced to apologise for a segment which featured a relationship expert tell domestic violence victims to kiss their husband’s feet.

“Even if your husband is a drug addict, if he beats you, just do it and you will see a miracle in your life,” the woman was said to have told viewers.

The woman, whose advice was roundly mocked on social media, told spouses to “slowly give him a foot massage”, before drying his feet and then “kiss his feet”.

She said this would relieve a husband’s stress and help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Source » independent

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