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Mahsa Amini: How a Woman’s Death Caused A Revolution in Iran

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Mahsa Amini. By now the world knows her name. Amini was a 22-year-old woman who was arrested in the Iranian capital of Tehran by “morality police” for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly, violating the mandatory hijab. She was taken to the hospital after her time being “re-educated” by the police, and she landed in the ICU for three days. On Sept. 16, Amini died.

It is a widely held belief that her death was the consequence of the brutal hands of the Iranian Republic’s “morality police.” The people of Iran would not stand for it.

Amini’s death sparked nationwide protests in Iran. Pictures and videos across social media show women taking off their hijab, burning hijabs and cutting off their hair as they protest Amini’s death. Iranians across the 31 districts have rallied together, demanding change from their government, an end to discrimination against women and the mandatory hijab.

Their outcries are the same as the western women’s rights movement. They demand basic rights; rights that seem so basic to women, to humans. Women have a right to bodily autonomy. Women don’t need their morals policed. Women should be able to live without the fear of violence or threats. My body, my choice.

The Islamic Republic severely restricted access to the internet and blocked various online services following the protests. According to some reports, Iranian police officials have violently responded to peaceful protestors. Thousands have been arrested, including journalists and activists.

Amini’s death not only sparked a revolution for Iranian women, but for many Iranian people. Decades of anger and resentment have surfaced, as the people of Iran are crying out that the Iranian Republic’s misogynist and repressive government is unfit to take care of its people. 

Most of the protestors at the forefront of these demonstrations are women and Gen-Z. Like its western counterparts, the younger generation of Iran will not bow to police brutality and an oppressive ruling regime. It takes courage to do what half of the Iranian people have done, as Iran is using lethal tactics to deal with protestors.

On Sept. 30, during a demonstration in the city of Zahedan, police forces gunned down protestors. 41 people were killed, according to the Baluch Activist Campaign. The city was also the setting of protests over the rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police chief. The death toll is 133, according to Iran Human Rights, an NGO based in Norway. This is a human rights atrocity. 

Here is what you can do to help and show your solidarity:

  1. Donate to human rights organizations that are fighting for the freedoms of the Iranian people:

Human Rights Activists News Agency

Center for Human Rights in Iran

Amnesty International

  1. Stay informed and share posts. Use social media as the tool that it is. Help those people in Iran that are blocked from accessing the Internet, and give them a voice. 
Kaylah Young is a senior at VCU. She is majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism, and a minor in political science. Kaylah has a passion for writing, reading books, and working out at the gym.