Lubna Hussein is a Sudanese woman who was convicted of indecency for wearing pants. She was among 12 other women charged with the same crime; the punishment was a $200 fine and a public flogging. Ten of the women agreed to this punishment, but Hussein and two others did not. Lubna Hussein made a mockery of the government and its policy by inviting the public and press to attend her flogging. The government was forced to rescind their punishment. The UN opposes flogging as a punishment and Amnesty International has been working to have the law removed.
Kiranjit Ahluwalia lived in the Indian state of Punjab until she turned 23, at which point she was married to a man she only met once. She then moved to the UK to live with her abusive husband, Deepak. She suffered ten years of extreme physical abuse: physical violence, food deprivation, and marital rape. After a particularly bad night, where Deepak threatened to break her ankles and burn her face with an iron, Kiranjit decided to fight back and lit his feet on fire while he slept, to keep him from running after her. He ultimately died from the accident and she was sent to jail. Eventually, Kiranjit’s case was brought to the attention of the Southhall Black Sisters organization, and her sentence was repealed 3 years later. This case raised awareness and changed the laws for domestic abuse in the UK. More information on the Southhall Black sisters organization can be found here. A film, Provoked, was made in 2005 about Kiranjit’s story, starring Aishwarya Rai and Naveen Andrews.
The story of Mukhtar Mai comes from the village of Meerwala in Pakistan in 2002. Mukhtar's brother was accused of having an affair with a girl from a neighboring, more powerful clan. Members of the clan gathered and decided that her brother was to marry the girl he allegedly had sexual relations with, and that Mukhtar would marry one of the men of the clan. After this solution was agreed upon, the men of the other clan forcibly took Mukhtar and gang-raped her. Women were expected to commit suicide after an event like this, but a local imam condemned the rape and urged Mukhtar and her family to fight. She and her family filed charges at the police station a week after the rape occurred. The thirteen men who raped her are now, seven years later, still awaiting trial in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. There continues to be threats against Mukhtar's life, as well as pressure for her to drop the charges.
At the age of 31, Malalai Joya is an Afghan politician who has survived four assassination attempts. She was the youngest member of the Afghan parliament and made a controversial speech in December 2003 against the domination of warlords that changed her life forever. The other members of the government attacked her after her speech, both verbally and physically. She was later suspended from parliament for “insulting fellow representatives in a television interview.” She has since then given many speeches around the world about politics and women’s rights. Joya has never been scared to speak the ugly truth regarding any situation. She has won many awards and her speeches continue to inspire people worldwide.
Zoya was orphaned at the age of 14 and moved to Pakistan with her grandmother. She attended a RAWA-funded school and then began to work with them on their missions. (RAWA: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) At the age of 19, Zoya returned to Afghanistan in a burkha to document the atrocities performed by the members of the Taliban. She took pictures of people murdered through stoning, burning, or hanging. She also had evidence of people’s whose arms had been amputated for stealing, or women whose fingers had been cut off for wearing nailpolish. She has written a book, Zoya’s Story, describing all that she has seen and gone through. To this day, she is forced to hide behind the burkha in public so she can continue her RAWA missions anonymously. For more information on RAWA: http://www.rawa.org/index.php
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