Column: Awareness of world events matters as protests erupt in Iran

Hope Leinen, Staff Writer

The women’s rights movement in Iran has surged to a whole new level since the death of Mahsa Amini. 

22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini was arrested by morality police and sent to a “reeducation center” after wearing “inappropriate” attire on Sept. 13. The circumstances for her “inappropriate” attire was too much hair protruding from her hijab. Amini died in a hospital in Tehran on Sept. 16.

Police said that she collapsed from a heart attack while in custody; however, Amini’s family, witnesses and injuries report evidence that she was beaten.

These sorts of targeted injustices have been prevalent in Iran for decades. Though the rules have changed over time, now allowing women’s hair to be visible, the country has required all women to wear hijab since 1983. This came following the 1979 Islamic Revolution when the new conservative ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, made it compulsory in order to follow the teachings of the Quran. Even when it was first decreed, women took to the streets in protest and were met with violence. 

These women, who are protesting for rights that we take for granted every day in the U.S, are being arrested or murdered for their dissent against the Iranian government. Mahsa Amini wasn’t the first and certainly wasn’t the last to become a victim of this regime, as over 200 protestors have been killed since protests erupted in September. The women of Iran are fighting for something that we all desire and deserve: bodily autonomy. 

It’s important to note that this issue is not with Muslim culture or religious beliefs. This is about a woman’s right to govern their own bodies and practice their beliefs freely. The goal of the protests is to bring attention to the atrocities being committed against women under the Iranian regime.

These injustices have gone on for years and now the women of Iran are tired of it. They are fighting back through protests of varying degrees. They are cutting their hair, photographing themselves degrading pictures of Supreme Leaders, taking off their hijabs and protesting in the streets. 

Personally, I am sick of the constant injustices that go unheard of and continue to plague women around the world. They are fighting for something that is being fought for in different forms all over the world, they are fighting for their rights, in spite of the threat to their lives. The United Nations has condemned the violent response to peaceful protests, especially for the arrest, torture and killing of children; still, the violence continues.

It is time that we help them draw attention to this. People need to focus on spreading the word and educating themselves and others on the things that go on in our world. 

At the end of the day, these are people who are suffering. This is a community suffering injustices that are leading to their wrongful deaths and imprisonment. These women’s rights are being erased by their government, which is quick to attack and silence them as they fight for change. Do not let them go unheard.  

Be sure to educate yourself on this matter further, donate to various organizations in support of women in Iran and spread the word about what they are doing there. The power lies in awareness. Make their voices and their message heard.