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.”