Acid Meets the Eyes

by Project Censored

Nearly 1,000 concerned citizens in Iran took their voice to the streets of Isfahan, Iran as they demanded action after acid attacks by men on motorcycles were made to four women for not wearing their veil in the past week in Tehran, Iran. The attacks occurred as they were driving their cars with their windows down. The protest took place outside of Isfahan’s judiciary building as they chanted and waved banners. Reports say that the woman were targeted because of their improper veiling which is supposed to cover most of their body.  Although four arrests have been made, it is still under investigation by the police and female drivers have been informed to keep their car windows closed. One victim, Soheila Jorkesh, was a student who, due to the attack, lost her sight from the right eye; she begs for help to be able to restore her sight. She claims that in the mist of the moment nobody knew how to help her and that the ambulance took approximately forty-five minutes to arrive; but, she says she will not give up on restoring her eyesight because she deserves to see. Although acid attacks have risen in neighboring countries around Iran because of abusers wanting to punish women because of their behavior, these incidents are the first to be reported in a couple of years.


Agence France-Presse,“A thousand Iranians take to the street to protest acid attacks against women”, October 22, 2014

Student Researcher: Joshua Jimenez, Indian River State College

Faculty Evaluator:  Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College

Ethics Alert

As we know, in some foreign countries such as Iran, women are required to hide their identity from head to toe at all times, especially out in public. In this case, male attackers, who believed these women are dishonoring their family by not wearing their veil correctly, took the law into their own hands by attacking them with acid. This particular story in itself raises various ethical problems. These attackers jeopardized the welfare and happiness of these women as well as violated their rights as human beings because of their improper veiling. One victim of the attack, Soheila Jorkesh , who lost sight in her right eye describes how it happened; “I was a student, I am educated, I was behind the wheel of my car and then the attacker took my life away from me.” They could have easily chosen another route to get their message across such as communicating their disapproval to the women or even reporting them to the authorities. Instead, they chose to treat these women as though they were objects to be manipulated and harmed.  However, the value of a human being is something that cannot be diminished, even if she is breaking a man-made law.  This means that, as human beings, these women had a right not to be so treated. Perhaps the attackers believed that they were justified by getting the message out that such behavior would not be tolerated. However, such action is self-defeating since it creates resentment instead of helping to promote cooperation and peace.

“Nobody knew how to help me at the time…” said Soheila Jorkesh.  This suggests that even onlookers may have been afraid because they were endangered.  Instead, human compassion would have sent a better message than violence.  Such action did not change the mind of a courageous woman like Soheila Jorkesh.  Far from repenting, she declared, “I will not give up because I deserve to see.” While different cultures have the right to enforce their dress codes, such vigilante perpetration of violence to enforce these rules goes beyond what any culture can and should humanely tolerate.