July 30, 2004 - The country’s national welfare organization Sazeman Behzisti said last year at least three women died of beatings by their husbands, and at least 2,165 women were victims of domestic violence. “Domestic violence takes place in private and many women prefer not to make it public. The real number of victims is much higher,” publisher and women’s right activist Shahla Lahiji tells Radio Farda’s broadcaster Golnaz Esfandiari. “It is partly because of a culture that sanctions violence against women, and sometimes even mistakes it with love,” she adds. “In our legal system, there are no laws to prevent domestic violence. On the contrary, many laws, such as the Islamic penal code, which sets the blood money for women half as much as men’s, clearly indicate that women’s lives are not as valuable as men’s,” Virginia-based women’s rights activist and author of several books on women’s rights Mehrangiz Kar says.