The Stoning of Soraya M

The Stoning of Soraya M.

If you are sitting around some evening and it occurs to you that you haven’t well and truly horrified yourself lately, then I have just the movie for you. I’ve been sitting on this particular post for a while now. The subject matter is so disturbing that I just couldn’t post. It’s scary to step into the deep end of the pool on this topic. I’m warning you now. If you do decide to watch this movie, don’t have the kids around. It is beyond shocking so DO NOT watch it if you are feeling down or vulnerable yourself.

The following description is from Netflix.

Set in 1986 Iran at the start of Khomeini’s reign, director Cyrus Nowrasteh’s drama tells the true story of Soraya (Mozhan Marnò), whose husband plots to have her falsely accused of adultery so he can divorce her and marry a young girl. French journalist Freidoune (Jim Caviezel) is pulled into Soraya’s tragic story when he meets a desperate woman named Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo).

Abuse and outright misogyny towards women is nothing new. What terrifies me is when people hide behind religious or moral outrage to commit such atrocities. From what I can tell researching the subject of stoning  is that its actual practice had died out until about 20 years ago. It has been reinstated for reasons such as the subject of this movie, and for control through terror. Stoning is not a quick death, it is and is intended to be torture. To kill the person with the first stone is frowned upon. Picking out the stones is a defined process, not to big, not to small. Then the person is buried in the ground up to about their chest so they can’t run away. Enough details.

While I was watching this movie, I kept asking myself “why are you watching this?” I felt almost guilty like someone gawking at a car wreck. Then it occurred to me that I felt I must be a witness to this, just like the women in the story. Yes, this does really happen. No, things are not peachy keen in any part of the world where violence against women is condoned or even culturally ingrained. What can I personally do about it? I don’t know. I do know that  launching a hate campaign is not the right thing to do. But I will remember women who are murdered by husbands, brothers, and sons. I for one am not going to pretend it doesn’t exist. I can refuse to look the other way if it happens here in my home town.

In the past, I pretended it did not exist in many small ways. A co-worker is obviously battered and instead of approaching her I avoid it and her. Then there are women, myself included (many years ago – not Mr. Husband), who tell others and themselves, “well I’m staying for the children’s sake.” A group of good friends, Catholic sisters, used to tell me the most simple but profound things. Once they told me “children do not do what you say – they do what you do.” What is a woman telling her children when she stays with a violent abusive man? She is telling her boy-child, “This is how it is, Son. You can use violence to get what you want.”   She is telling her girl-child, “This is how it is Daughter, you are 2nd class, dispensable. It’s ok for someone to sweep your needs, or even your dead body under the rug. So be quiet and behave. You must have a man at all costs, even if that cost is your life.”


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8 responses

  1. Not sure I have seen this video you’re blogging about — or if I can watch if — but I did see one that was video-taped of an actual stoning of a man and a woman together. I was, like you, shocked and could not get the image from my mind’s eye. In this particular video, which was grainy but still clear enough to see the activity taking place, the “men” (bullies) brought the man and woman who were wrapped in white cloth to the hole and buried to their chest. The supposed premise is that if they can escape from the circle of bullies before they are stoned to death, they get to live. Easy task when one is buried to the chest after being tightly wrapped in a cloth. I do not understand these people. And as Ampbreia says, the theocratic society is the most dangerous of all.

    1. In Stoning Soraya she was not wrapped in cloth but, there was no escaping. I have seen the clip you are referring to and it made my blood run cold. I personally think that having them wrapped in cloth makes the mob mentally easier because no one has to look the person in the eye that they are throwing the stone at.

  2. Hey, did not know if you were following the “honor killing” trial in phx…but it’s pretty disturbing and ugly. jurors are deliberating over the weekend. zig

    1. Yes that is pretty sick. What so honorable about killing your daughter? Or your wife, or…… I think these murders should be renamed something other than honor. Some one-word version of “I don’t like what you’re doing, it embarasses me, so I’m going to murder you .” Absurd. It sounds like the kid who murders his or her parents, and then asks for mercy because they are an orphan.

  3. You’re right, while places like Iran openly condone abuse against women, it happens everywhere. Seeing what my mother went through made me decide to never stay in an abusive relationship myself.

    Thanks for writing about the movie. Not sure that I’ll be able to watch it though.

    1. If you’re not sure, then don’t watch it. I was in shock for almost a week. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Iran under the Islamic Regime is living hell for a woman. Any theocracy is. It goes with the territory somehow. Dictators are pussycats compared to theocrats. The theocrat has his illusion of god on his side and puts his humanity and his reason second if he references them at all. His percieved power is “above” his humanity. I lived in that hell for a year, 1982 to 1983, and will never go back again until those mullahs are either defanged and declawed or exterminated like the cockroach infestation they are. Those mullahs are demons are far as I’m concerned! If not for them, Iran would be a pretty nice place.

    1. I would be terrified to go to any of these places.

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