Iranian protests for women’s rights hits home in Ventura



Women in Iran are fighting for their basic human rights in the streets and holding signs to show what they demand

Masha Amini was a 22-year old woman who died in police custody in Tehran, Iran for wearing her headscarf too loosely. She was arrested Sept. 13 for wearing her headscarf “improperly” by the religious morality police of Iran’s government. Reports say that she was led into a van with police then brutally beaten into a coma. She died three days later and her death struck an uprising in Iran which is continuing and is led primarily by women and young girls.

This picture was taken in Los Angeles California where many have gathered to support Iran. (Angelina Shahidehpour)

The protests are nowhere near peaceful; Videos of the protests have shown morality police beating the young teen and women protesters. Bullets and tear gas are being used in the crowds which led to hundreds injured or killed. The morality police are tasked with regulating female dress and behavior; they have become symbols of the Islamic Republic’s control of women’s lives. 

Women around Iran have begun cutting their hair and tossing their head scarves into bonfires while chanting “Women, life, freedom,” in protest. These demonstrations have also been accompanied by internet outages from the protesters in Iran to communicate with the outside world. Many Iranians have been working to connect through social media to spread the word that they are not safe in the streets in Iran and to help spread awareness. The impact of this conflict has been felt all over the world, including in Ventura where VUSD students have family members directly impacted by this violence.

“The hurtful fact is my people are getting dehumanized in Iran and no one knows about it.”

— Angelina Shahidehpour

“I live in America and I can’t do anything for my relatives that live in Iran. My parents and I can go out and protest but my family in Iran can’t do that because they will be risking their lives, ” Foothill sophomore Angelina Shahidehpour said. 

Due to the internet complications, Shahidehpour and her family rarely get to hear from their relatives which only adds to tension. Whenever they do get a chance to speak with their loved ones they have to be very careful on what they talk about because they do not know who could be listening. 

“The hurtful fact is my people are getting dehumanized in Iran and no one knows about it,” Shahidehpour said. 

American-Iranian historian Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet is an expert on Modern Iran at University of Pennsylvania in the School of Arts & Sciences says the current protests are a movement about “freedom”. 

This is the chanting anthem that everyone is chanting in the protests to signify what the people in Iran demand. (Flickr)

“ But also about resistance to violence against women and resistance against political repression,” Kashani-Sabet said in an interview with Penn Today. “At a time when we see a retrenchment of women’s liberties all over the world, Iranian women have taken the lead in the fight for political freedom.” 

Hoping for change in Iran; women, young and old are risking their lives for freedom and it seems that they will continue until they have it. The Islamic Republic has shown no mercy to the protesters but the crowds keep resisting their force and show the power they hold. 

“I’m glad that people are recognizing us and that we are fighting for our rights that should have already been given to us, “ said Shahidehpour.