“Women! Life! Freedom!” Iranian Women Protest Repressive Regime


Grace Perez

Only 22-years-old, Mahsa Amini’s brutal death at the hands of Iran’s morality police has sparked protests across the country. According to the Iranian government, Amini was arrested for a dress code violation, her head cover being “too loose”, and taken to a detention center. There she died of an alleged heart attack. However, multiple eye witnesses have testified that Amini was brutally beaten by the police in the van. She died shortly after falling into a coma.

Amini is just one of many women who have suffered from Iran’s strict dress code laws. Now, the women of the country have united. Protests have taken over the country, all of them screaming the same words: “Women! Life! Freedom!” Across the country, women have removed their required head coverings and burned them.

In response, the Iranian government has met the protestors with tear gas and water cannons and live ammunition. The official death toll is 40, though Iran Human Rights claims this number has risen to at least 133. The government has also cut off access to the Internet to keep their voices from being heard. As a response, President Biden has relaxed his sanctions on Internet services with Iran to help expand the flow of the internet. Elon Musk has even promised to send Iran the Starlink satellite system in order to keep protestors online.

One protestor has even reported that the riot police have threatened sexual assault in order to force them into submission. Despite the government’s violent and oppressive measures, young women have kept to their convictions. While being detained, they continued to yell at the officers and make fun. Another protestor reported that young women, with blood on their face, continued to laugh and joke while being detained. She said that one of them turned to her and asked her to smile, saying “We are victorious because we are right.”

Protestors are demanding a regime change, chanting “Death to the dictator!” The Iranian government has made statements saying that these protests will not cause any change in the regime. In fact, the Iranian foreign minister claims that these protests and riots are a result of outside agitation and foreign media.

The oppression of women in Iran needs to end. With protests exploding all over the country, the time has finally come. As author Audre Lorde once said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” The situation in Iran involves not just those who are suffering but women everywhere. It is our responsibility to help to provide a voice to those who are being persecuted.

Getting the attention of those in power is imperative. Reaching out to your representatives will help to bring awareness to the situation. Donating to human rights organizations such as the Center for Human Rights in Iran, the NCRI’S Women Committee, and Amnesty International can also help to provide aid to the protestors. And if these options are not possible, simply posting, talking, tweeting, spreading the word of what is happening will help. Iranian women need the world watching.

As TikTok user, @tystysplanet pleads in her viral video, “I have my human rights. I just want them. I don’t want anything more.”