Single Girls' Residences
By: Hamed Farahbakhsh, March 2005
The number of girls admitted to universities increases year in, year out. In a wink, these girls are graduated as doctors and engineers. But many of them don't like to get married right away after graduation. Moreover, based on the official figures, the population of single girls, up to 35-year-old, has reached 6.1 million people. Meanwhile the population of single boys up to 30-year-old doesn't exceed further than 4.3 million people. Therefore, even if all these boys have the intention to get married, still 2.4 million girls will remain unmarried. Many of these girls who don't want, or, cannot get married, go to work and start a separate life from their families. Hence, the single girls' residences have turned into an ever-escalating problem.
Security at the End of the Line
Many of the girls who look for separate homes only seek a house. But they don't think about the security and what happens in other floors. This is because they don't have much choice. Hence, they accept any house they are given. They are not really secure in their homes and flats. Criminals easily identify these houses and make different plans for them, such as sexual abuse or burglary.
|Iranian young women, 2005
Only last week, two murders and several burglaries took place in single girls' houses in Tehran. These incidents are a new concern for our community.
I Wasn't Secure!
Mahboubeh is a Communications graduate. She has found a job in the public relations department of an organization, therefore remaining in Tehran. She is living in a house with one of her previous classmates. She says: "Unfortunately there is a stigma attached to single girls who separately live in their own residences. Although my housemate and I wear simple clothes, but since the neighbors have found that we are living on our own, they have a negative outlook toward us. I have to say that the two terms "Runaway Girls" and "Single Girls" have been mistaken with each other. Single girls are forced to remain in Tehran and live a separate life because there are no job opportunities in their own cities."
She believes that the government has ignored this problem. She adds: "Although men's and women's seats in buses and trains have been separated, the government hasn't thought of only-girls buildings, for single girls".
I laugh at her comments and say: "But you are connecting everything to government's conduct."
She adds: This won't cause any problems for the government. It should support the people who construct houses in order to lease them to women, alike the way it supports expensive women's boarding houses.
Dilapidated Buildings as Girls' Boarding House:
In addition to single girls' residences, several people have started investing their capitals in girls' boarding houses. Except a few luxury and expensive uptown boarding houses with monthly expenses going well beyond a civil servant or employee's salary, a few profiteers have turned their old and dilapidated buildings into girls' boarding houses. These cheap boarding houses are spread all over the city, without any supervision whatsoever, with five to six girls residing in every single room.
Leila-M is a resident of one of these houses, located in "Haft-e-Tir" neighborhood. She says although several girls reside in every single room, they aren't secure. You see many cars parking in this neighborhood at sunset. Unfortunately, all sorts of girls live in these flats, without the police force's supervision and control. The house we live in even doesn't have a dormitory sign in front of it. It doesn't even have a security guard.
Houses on Bubbles:
In addition to single girls' residences, many girls spend the night at their place of work. In comparison to the girls living in separate residences, these girls face more severe problems. They don't have any sort of security. Z-R works in a travel agency and remains inside the agency at night. She lost her husband several months after their marriage in a car crash. She was forced to come to Tehran to look for work. She was later recruited in this travel agency.
She says: With these high rents and low wages, many girls are forced to remain in their place of work at nights. She notes: They close the travel agency's lock at night. I am scared about this. What if anything happens and a fire starts? What should I do then? This is my every day's nightmare.
We Should Do Something:
The death of three young female reporters in a house in Tehran was an incident covered by the press for several days. There are numerous possibilities such as gas and food poisoning. The majority of dailies only covered the controversy surrounding these deaths. But the reader can also realize the possible threats endangering single girls' residences, by reading these texts. A solution should be found to protect these girls, before another similar incident takes place.
Bogus Landlady Cons Young Girls
The 24-year-old university graduate, Maryam, was looking for a place of residence. Going through newspaper adverts, one advertisement attracted her attention. A house to be rented in Baqerkhan: 5m rials in advance payment and a 500,000-rial lease per month.
After making an appointment, she went to the landlady's house. A 21-year-old girl guided her in. There was a middle-aged woman in the house, the girl referred to as mother. The young girl claimed she wants to lease her grandmother's house.
On the same day, Maryam signed a contract with the landlady and placed 4000,000 rials in advance payment. Two days later, she made another appointment with the landlady and received the keys. But when Maryam went to the house again in order to move her stuff in, she couldn't get in. Referring to Tehran's Police Station 137, she saw another girl who had sued the young so-called landlady for renting a middle-aged woman's house. After police investigations, it was found that the bogus 21-year-old landlady had previously rented the house from an old woman. Hence, she was robbing unaware young would-be-tenants of their advance payments.