Women’s War in Iran

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For many Muslim women wearing a Hijab is a form of personal worship. Others wear it as an omen of their heritage, and some wear it as an armor of resistance to society and its demand for ostentatious women. 

In Iran, where women are treated as second-class citizens, it is worn out of fear. For them, failing to wear their Hijab has many consequences including arrests, fines, beatings, sexual harassment and in extreme cases death. 

Following the Islamic revolution of 1979, rulers placed a mandate on women above the age of nine, requiring them to wear their hijabs while out in public. Their complacency with the law is closely monitored by Iran's morality police who enforce harsh punishments on protesters and women. Iran turned the Hajib, a religious tool intended for Muslim women, into a weapon that is used by men to control and suppress them. 

Masha Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, was beaten by the Iranian morality police for wearing her Hijab improperly. The beating was so severe that she fell into a coma and later died. 

Amini's death has inspired nationwide protests. Her death was a public display of Iran's brutal regime and the mistreatment of women. Female protesters have keenly taken a role in the protests by burning their Hijabs, cutting their hair and chanting ‘I am a free woman.’

Niloufur Hamedi, the female journalist who was the first to draw attention to Amini’s death, is reported to have been taken into custody by the regime as well. 

Iran lawmakers, in response to the mass protest, recently voted to execute protesters who have already been taken into custody, although it is unclear if or when these executions will take place. 

Newsweek states, “In the last 8 weeks Iran's regime has killed over 300 protestors, imprisoned nearly 15,000, and threatened to execute hundreds more, yet Iran's women persist” (Kika, 2022). 

Iran’s response to today’s protests seems to mimic the massacre of 1988 in which 30,000 political prisoners were executed, the majority being women. Hossein Ali-Montazeri, the theocratic leader in Iran during the time, admitted in his published memoirs that women in prison were systematically raped and mistreated before being killed. 

A Communications major at the University of Tennessee, Jackson Metcalfe responded.

“It would be great to help the women of Iran, but as a leading nation I feel it difficult to take action immediately. This is something that would be gradual but we could start by showing our opposition to how they are running their government and treating their citizens as well,” Metcalfe said.

For more than three decades the world has remained silent and allowed Iran to commit horrific crimes against its women. Nations around the world continue to support the country with oil and nuclear deals, simply turning a blind eye to what is occurring within Iran's borders. 

A Business major at the University of Tennessee, Kira Rogers, expressed her concern.

“It worries me that here in the United States we remain relatively unaware of the harsh realities that the women in Iran face every day,” Rogers said. 

The media seems to be more invested in arbitrary topics like “Grammy nominations to be announced, with 5 new categories” and “Ex-MLB player Yasiel Puig to plead guilty in gambling case”.

“I believe that part of the responsibility to educate us falls heavily onto the media,” Rogers said.

Each year more than a thousand underage girls are being married off in Iran, with children as young as 10-years-old. 

In Iran marital rape and domestic violence are not considered crimes.

Furthermore, the sentencing for a man who was convicted of murdering his daughter is only 3-10 years, while women are receiving the death penalty for cutting their hair (UANI). 

Iran for too long has gotten away with their patriarchal practices and abuse. Iranian women cannot change the regime alone. They need our help. Educate yourself, spread awareness, donate and write to our government for support. We can no longer turn our backs while thousands of people suffer and fight to be given the same opportunities as us.