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A Reckoning for Our Bodies, Our Choice in Iran: The Women of Iran and How To Help Them 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Suffolk chapter.

Content warning: This story mentions rape, sexual assault, and extreme violence. 

The saying our bodies, our choice does not solely apply to abortion rights in America. It extends to the bodily autonomy of the women and girls of Iran.  

Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested and detained by Iran’s “morality police” for “improper hijab” while she was on a family trip to Iran on September 13, 2022.  

According to an article by Radio Free Europe, Amini was severely beaten and went into a coma shortly after her arrest at the Vozara detention center. She died three days after her detainment.  

In response to Amini’s death, the women of  Iran led an uprising. These courageous women and girls have taken to the streets and committed bold acts of defiance against the government, such as publicly burning their scarves and cutting their hair.  

The Iranian morality police have the ultimate authority to stop and search Iranian women and girls. They usually assess the length of clothes, examine how they dress, make up, and if hijab is being worn properly. They have an infamous reputation for overbearing force and brutalization of the women that they detain.  

After Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1981, the regulation of mandatory hijab went into effect.  

The government in Iran has responded to the uprising with acts of violence toward the protesters. There have been reports of ammunition, tear gas, and pellet guns being used on protestors, according to an article by News 18.  

Additionally, according to the internet watchdog Netblocks, the government has been restricting access to certain mobile sites since September, which can be read about further here.  

According to Iran International, a  privately-owned UK media entity, as of Friday, November 25, 2022, at least 448 people have been killed in the recent Iranian protests since September 17th. The article added that at least 63 minors/children were killed, and there is an estimated 18,170 detainees, with 565 of those being students. 

As mentioned above, the recent events in Iran have taken many people’s lives. 

Another young woman named Nika Shakarami, 16,  lost her life because of her active participation in the protests regarding Mahsa Amini’s death.  

Shakarami went missing on September 20th in Tehran. Ten days later her family was informed her dead body had been located. Authorities showed the family images of Shakarami’s corpse lying on the sidewalk. 

They claimed her cause of death was falling from a high point in an abandoned building. Still, her family believes otherwise, as they had been told that prior to her death, the 16-year-old girl had been kidnapped and detained at a prison that has a reputation for raping and torturing its detainees. She died shortly after, according to an article by CNN. 

Day by day, we hear of more and more cases like this. Another was the death of Yalda Aghafazili. She was 19 when she was arrested in late October.  

She was released 10 days after being held in prison without knowing the charges against her. Sadly, she took her own life a few days after being released, according to articles by the Iran Wire & The Womens NCRI council.  

Many speculate that she took her own life because of the abuse and trauma she endured, which allegedly included being severely beaten and violently raped several times.  

The women of Iran have shown that they are daring and strong even in the face of retaliation and their courage against the oppressive regime is something that can be admired by many worldwide.  

We can support their cause by visiting this website, which contains various links to petitions, letters to the UN and other ways to support the people of Iran.  

Hey! I'm Ana, a first-year journalism student at Suffolk University. I'm originally from Palo Alto, California. When I'm not writing, you'll probably find me hiking/camping outdoors, painting, or making jewelry.