From the March-April 2018 issue of News & Letters
In February, women worldwide posted videos on social media of removing their hijabs, and sometimes burning them, with the hashtag #NoHijabDay. Anoud Al Ali, formerly of the United Arab Emirates, stated, “It feels so liberating to burn the hijab. And I am doing that in solidarity with Iranian women who are protesting against the mandatory hijab and for all the forced girls. We are not candies or diamonds to be covered. We’re humans.” The action is also a response to #WorldHijabDay, practiced in 140 countries to encourage women of all religions to wear the hijab to promote tolerance towards Muslim women.
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After six years of lobbying by Sherry Johnson, the Florida State Senate voted unanimously to ban marriage to anyone under the age of 18, although it was amended to allow minors over 16 and expecting a baby to marry. Johnson is fighting to make Florida the first state to enact a ban on child marriage without exception. After a church deacon raped and impregnated her at the age of 9, the church pressured her mother, who then forced her to marry the rapist at the age of 11. Almost a quarter million children as young as 10 were married between 2000 and 2010 in the U.S.
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A University of Manchester study published recently in the British Medical Journal found that, while the rate of self-harm among boys has remained the same, in the last three years,the rate among girls 13 to 16 years old soared by 68%. Self-harm is a response to trauma and disassociation, and the study found people harming themselves are 17 times more likely to die from suicide and 34 times more likely to die from drugs or alcohol.