On the occasion of November 25th, the International Day
to protest Violence Against Women:
victims of violence is one thing,
but what is
needed is to put an end to that violence itself.
Our individual and collective struggle as women IS Not about just
being "allowed" to speak out against the violence against women (just
for one day).
It Is Not to keep counting the dead bodies of our sisters killed
for the sake of their "love" or the family’s "honor".
It Is Not just to make portraits of their bruised and disfigured
It Is Not just to have pity for their faces burned by acid.
It Is Not about making statements or compiling statistics, or
academic research about the bodies of all the women who have been subjected to
the sexual appetites of men -- with or without being paid for.
And why is it still necessary to repeat that:
- One out of every 3 women experiences sexual harassment by her own
relatives in her lifetime: making "home" the most unsafe space for
- Every year 60 million girls are sexually assaulted on their way
to school or elsewhere.
- 80 percent (640,000) of
women in human trafficking are trafficked primarily for sexual exploitation.
- At least 60 million females have "disappeared" through
infanticide or have been aborted because they were not the desired gender.
- Between 100 and 140 million girls and women in the world are
disfigured, because of their gender.
- Over 60 million girls are child-brides and directly exposed to
- In the United States of America, 11.8 percent of HIV infections
among women aged 20 and above are related to their partners' activities.
Enough is enough...these cold shocking statistics do not and cannot
begin to express the reality of endless moments of anxiety and pain and suffering
inflicted by the war that is constantly being waged against women, that
reverberates in every cell of our society. The only reason we even have these
statistics has everything to do with our fight to break the silence for so many
years. It is because we no longer want to remain silent victims of
"virtue" and "love." We do not want our bodies to be
"covered" or "protected", treated as commodities to benefit
this or that political, economical or religious power, nor to be put on a
pedestal nor sold on the auction block....We understand now that as long as
there is the commodification of bodies our oppression will continue. Thus we
are not surprised by the savagery of ISIS that captures our Yazidi
and Christian sisters as trophies of war, as in the 1400 year old tradition, to
be sold on Mosul's slave auction blocks. This is not much different than our
other sisters who are put in the "Red-light" districts of the
Netherlands, Germany and Belgium ...to be sold in "modern" sex slave
auctions. It is because of all of this that we can identify the backwardness
and patriarchy, no matter what the forms and shapes of the oppressors.
Yes! In particular, we women
of the Middle East on the one hand are confronting the newly minted religious
fundamentalist forces and theocratic states and experience the more barbaric
cruelties against women based on Sharia, and on the other hand we suffer from
the imperialists’ wars against and compromise with other reactionary regimes in
Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria... that has made women the target of their
killings, violence, displacements, rapes, and insecurity...
The Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI), which has been playing the role
of moral godfather of the reactionary forces of the region, has for years
oppressed women, particularly through the Hijab/veiling, as the main pillar of
their rule. Now they have taken another leap in their savagery against women by
punishing women even more to push them out of political life and the public
The IRI regime, on the one hand, by legal and judicial means, through
decrees and military force, has pushed women into unemployment, forcing them
back into the home to make babies, and, on the other hand, by utilizing the
medieval laws of “an eye for an eye”, executes rebel women such as Reyhaneh, who defied subjugation by her attacker in a so-called
"crime" of Self Defense, in order to give a lesson to other rebel
women. The IRI regime unleashes its operatives through the pulpit of the
mosques to order its paramilitary and ideological forces to engage in an Acid
War (throwing acid on women's faces) against women for wearing an
"insufficient Hijab." These new attacks demand a new round of
struggle for us to dig deeper to understand and let people know the roots of
this oppression and the path to confront and uproot all this, once and for all.
For these reasons, we believe that all social and domestic violence
are links in the same chain – a chain that cannot exist without state
repression - they are only symptoms of the male domination and patriarchy of
the capitalist system. Violence is a fever that expresses the sickness of
existing social relations between men and women. It has been given life and
strengthened by the existing disease of this system. All women, from the womb, from
girl child to elderly women, all over the world, from real to virtual space,
from the husband's bedroom to the boss's office, from the academic conference
hall to the gym, from villages in the heart of nature to the most crowded
shopping centers, from battlefields to Facebook pages, from the quiet of the
alley to the concert hall... anytime and anywhere women are faced with violence
or the threat or fear of violence. All women are victims of the direct or
indirect, inherent, organized and systematic violence of the system of
capitalism, patriarchy. A system that cannot survive without defending, and
legitimizing the "superiority" of men over women in every field of
economic, social and domestic life. Therefore an all-out relentless, one-sided
but largely hidden war against women has been unleashed. A war in which the
male is the judge and jury, and the owner and conqueror.... and women are kept
in a state of permanent victimhood, where the most she can do is
"help" other victims.
the victims of violence is one thing, and putting an end to violence against
women is something else!
Yes, there is no need to prove that we women are victims of a
world-wide system with a common interest that has no goal but exploitation and
super-exploitation and wants us to be its silent and obedient victims. And the
system trains men – husbands, fathers and brothers – to enforce this system and
inflict violence in many forms, and it trains women to submit and learn to live
with their chains.
In this daily war, this system targets women individually and at
times collectively. But we have not been and will not be obedient victims. We
revolutionary women have gained enough experience, motivation, courage and
anger to stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters around the world to
finally put an end to this war against women. By relying on our scientific and
emancipatory theories we will reach out to our sisters all over the world to
bring consciousness and organization to engage in political struggle. We
understand that putting an end to this violence based on unequal relations
between men and women is impossible without the complete emancipation of women.
Helplessness is not "woman's nature" and violence is not "man's
nature". These relations are produced and reproduced, generated and
regenerated by the system of class divisions/of capitalism and patriarchy that
must be dismantled to put an end to the ownership of women by men.
With further, revolutionary horizons in mind, let's put an end to
all forms of oppression and exploitation. And let's build a new world where
women are active members of a vibrant society, where valuing human beings is a
foundational building block, and no one, no entity, has the power or the
opportunity to step on others.
To put an end to the violence, every day is a day of struggle. We
Iranian women are planning to participate in this year's November 25 through
heightening our struggle against patriarchy in Iran and by focusing on exposing
and identifying the perpetrators of Acid Throwing. In this way we can take an
active role in putting an end to violence against women. And contrary to the
Islamic Republic of Iran that played the leading role in the creation of the theocratic
states in the Middle East, we women of Iran, shoulder to shoulder with our
sisters, supporters and companions all over the world, will be in the forefront
of the powerful struggle against religious fundamentalism and capitalism- imperialism
to forge a path for women's emancipation throughout the world.
Women Rise up! Struggle and rebellion does not need a special
Women Rise up! Revolution does not need an invitation.
Women Rise up! Find your sisters and friends and join with those
who are part of this revolutionary transformation.
Women Rise up! Unleash your courage, power, anger, strength and
You can and you must cry out for those who are the most downtrodden
and who are the most silenced.
You can and you must in the midst of these most pessimistic times
of defeats unleash the most courageous and passionate/vibrant struggle.
You can and you must with your generous and powerful hands... shake
You can and you must break all the chains of oppression and
exploitation so that no force can ever re-enchain women or anybody else.
March 8 Women Organization (Iran -Afghanistan)
25 November 2014