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Women, Life, Freedom

Being a woman in Iran means at any given moment you are subject to the death sentence, for every gesture of your body is a crime or a sin in this prison for a country. Women don’t wear dresses in Iran, their hair can’t flow with the wind and their skin can’t touch the sun. Mahsa was 22 years old when she was brutality murdered by the “morality police.” She was arrested then battered to death for covering her hair improperly. Mahsa’s death enraged the Persian community and sparked a revolutionary momentum across the nation. Today, thousands of Iranians risk their lives in the name of “women, life, freedom,” a fight for justice that turned into a bloody purge. The protest slogan, the large numbers of women protesting on the street, and the protesters’ demands, which focus on bodily rights as well as political change and freedom, have garnered the world’s attention, especially that of women around the world who identify with the struggle of Iranian women against patriarchy and demand for bodily autonomy.

Mass executions, raids and bombs were the response of the Iranian government. Iranian authorities have used their usual repressive tactics to respond to the countrywide protests. Videos on social media show security forces attacking protestors with live and pellet ammunition, tear gas, and batons. The Islamic Republic of Iran has left a trail of blood and a ground full of graves. Protests have persisted despite brutal government repression. At least 50 women human rights defenders and over 25 female student activists have reportedly been arrested. As of October 12, nearly 200 people have been killed by the security forces since the outbreak of the most recent protests.

To prevent protesters from organizing and sharing videos of protests, internet access has been heavily disrupted and online platforms and applications, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, and even video games that involve online communications, have been blocked.There is no value for human life in Iran, the price of blood is the same price for oil. It's not news anymore that someone has been shot or killed, and the worst part is that you will never know who you should have checked on last, or who's going up the electric chair. The government can be anyone from your follower, waiting to silence you at the end of your street the moment you try to expose the facades of the government. The current Iranian regime will bring guns to a sword fight, they are ready to execute anyone who has something to say.

Iran does not have policies in place to prevent abuse, protect women, and prosecute domestic violence, despite increasing reports of horrific femicides and women risking their lives to escape abuse. In many femicide cases, prosecutors, and judges often do not press for adequate penalties.The demands are for fundamental change, and it is no surprise that girls and young women are on the front lines. In recent weeks, we have seen courageous schoolgirls and students at universities take the helm: raising up their scarves, marching through streets, and chasing off government officials. But the crackdown has resulted in mass arrests and, reportedly, killings of hundreds of people, including girls

More than 40 years ago, Iranian authorities sought to marginalize women from public life. Despite discrimination, Iranian women are highly educated and have broken barriers in many professional fields. Women have pushed against discriminatory laws and policies, like the dress code and sexual harassment, achieving some reforms. But they have faced arrest, torture, imprisonment, and even death sentences. Notably, Iranian authorities have imprisoned the leaders of the “One Million Signatures” campaign, a pivotal women’s rights campaign that began in 2006 seeking a million signatures from Iranians supporting gender equality.

Iranian girls and women are protesting discriminatory rules and calling for wholesale change to achieve their fundamental rights and freedoms. The Iranian authorities – and the world – should listen.

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