The Revolution Has Begun
When 10-year-old Nujood Ali entered a courtroom in Yemen and demanded a divorce from the abusive man she had been forced to marry, she started a revolution. Her courageous act encouraged other girls in forced marriages to come forward and demand their freedom. It also brought worldwide attention to the issue of forced and early marriages and the suffering they brought to so many girls and women.
In the ensuing years, movements to end forced marriage, sexual assault, and all forms of violence against women have been growing. More and more women and girls have spoken out and demanded change. The numbers and the volume have been ramped up. These demands are not coming from one particular country or culture or religion. They are being heard from large cosmopolitan cities to remote rural villages. Women are rising in the East, the West and everywhere in between. And the momentum is building.
This past year, when girl activist Malala Yousafzai was shot at point blank range by the Taliban, it sparked vigils and protests across Pakistan and around the world. What, at one time, would have been seen as the tragic consequences of one girl’s battle for an education, has now been transformed into a worldwide action. Politicians and citizens of numerous countries called for her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her picture appeared on the cover of Time magazine. And people all over the world held signs stating, “I Am Malala,” to indicate that the struggle for women’s rights affects all women and girls, and, yes, even men and boys, on the planet. If we choose to be, we are all in this together. More women are realizing that violence and denigration committed against any woman, affects all women.