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It's easy to be 'progressive' when you live in a western democracy like the US. Sure, there's the threat of police brutality which could result in a punch to the face or a spray of pepper, but incidents such as those are largely the exception to the rule. Does anybody actually fear that their life is on the line when they speak out in any way, or take part in a protest? Not so much.

Now, imagine that you live in a regressive/repressive state where virtually nobody speaks out, and if you do it's almost a certainty that your protests will be met with murder at the hands of your own family, gang rape or acid being thrown in your face. At best, banishment from your family and village.

And you're a 14-year-old girl in a misogynistic society. How brave would you be then? Personally, I don't know if I have what it takes. Join me below to talk about two fearless, progressive young women who have dared to take the risks necessary to stand up for what they believe.

Malala Yousafzai was released from a British hospital just a few hours ago.

From the Swat Valley in Pakistan, Malala began blogging about the repression of the Taliban at the age of 12, particularly focused on the limited ability for young girls to receive an education. In the face of increased threats due media attention, she remained outspoken.

Malala was shot in the head while riding on a school bus on October 9, 2012 in an apparent reprisal by the Taliban. As noted above, Malala was released from Birmingham Hospital earlier today, but she still has a long road ahead of her:

Malala is due to be to be readmitted in late January or early February to undergo cranial reconstructive surgery as part of her long-term recovery
There is a petition to nominate Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize, which you can sign on to here.

While many of you are familiar with Malala's situation, there is another young woman who deserves attention for her amazing bravery. She chooses to go by one name: Debangana.

At the age of 14, Debangana was drugged and raped, then sold to a brothel.

"Drivers, old men, poor men and some rich boys, they all exploited me for a year," said the teen, who was rescued along with 10 other girls by the police and a voluntary organisation during a series of raids in the capital's red light district.

But her struggle was far from over. When she arrived home, she found no one supported her decision to register a police case.

"In a city, a girl still has the freedom to decide, but in a village she cannot make a decision against the wishes of a village head. A woman has to obey her father, brothers, village men," she said.
 

In a society where silence is encouraged, she has refused to remain silent in the face of extreme coercion:
Her family's home has been destroyed and their rice field torched after she refused to withdraw the case.
The court system has tried to make her feel like the guilty party, yet she continues.
"They once asked me how many times did I sleep with men? I replied: 'I never slept with them, they raped me'.

"A lawyer then asked how much money did I make at the brothel? I said, the men just threw a few coins at my face, so they could hurt me more."

Asked if she believes she will ever get justice, she replied: "At least I'm trying."

As our progressive heroes fade into history, young women like these will be the heroes of our children and grandchildren. Their courage surpasses anything I've seen elsewhere.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

    by quinn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:40:41 AM PST

  •  Wish I could rec this a thousand times more nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quinn, Eowyn9

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:01:35 AM PST

  •  Danger from speaking out... (0+ / 0-)

    As a matter of fact, I do fear when I speak out about gun control.

    •  What exactly do you fear? (0+ / 0-)

      draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

      by quinn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:41:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or about women's health issues... (0+ / 0-)

      With all the crazies on the right, there's enough to be scared of here. I'd love to add to this "but at least children don't get shot here", but I'd be wrong about that. There is a first-grade class that no longer exists, 23.5 miles from my home.

      •  You joined 15 months ago, and THESE are your first (0+ / 0-)

        and only comments.

        What's up with that?

        draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

        by quinn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:54:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  2013 new years resolution to speak up occasionally (0+ / 0-)

          I've decided to no longer just lurk. Don't know how much I'll contribute, but here I am.

          •  Well great. Strange that THIS diary is the first (0+ / 0-)

            one to get you motivated to 'contribute'. The fear you face when you don't comment on anything is surely as great as a 14 year old girl taking on the Taliban.

            I truly feel your pain.

            Looking forward to all your contributions in the future!

            draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

            by quinn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:21:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  And, um, (0+ / 0-)
      Danger from speaking out... (0+ / 0-)

      As a matter of fact, I do fear when I speak out about gun control.

      Or about women's health issues..
      since you never write diaries OR comment, exactly when and where do you 'speak out'?

      You must be a huge advocate of gun control and 'women's issues' to live in such fear that you equate your plight to those of the women I wrote about.

      Please explain the hardships you've suffered, and provide some links to the articles where you've 'spoken out' on these issues.

      Anxiously awaiting your THIRD EVER comment.

      draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

      by quinn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:12:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Way to go! (0+ / 0-)

    My comments referred to your first paragraph only. I should have made that clear. Since this is YOUR reaction to my first comments, why shouldn't I be afraid of wingnuts with guns, and their reactions to speaking out about changing the gun laws?

    •  That makes absolutely no sense. Have a great day. (0+ / 0-)

      draw a window on the wall to remind you of the silkrain that makes things grow - Yoko Ono

      by quinn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:27:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you do wish to discuss gun control (0+ / 0-)

      I would respectfully recommend writing your own diary, where it would be appropriate and you will get the in-depth discussion that you seem to be seeking.

      This diary, however, is not about gun control. It is about two incredible women who are changing the world through their bravery. Gun control is (IMHO) a non-sequitur here.

      Peace. :)

      Let's make 2013 the year we take back our planet.

      by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:59:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is great news. Thanks for posting this (0+ / 0-)

    and also the link to the Nobel Peace Prize petition (I will pass this on.)

    Malala is an amazing woman (as is Debangana, though this diary is the first time I've seen her story.) It is people like this who change our world for the better. I hope they both receive the recognition and justice they deserve.

    Let's make 2013 the year we take back our planet.

    by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:55:34 PM PST

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