Persecuted for Standing Up

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Persecuted for Speaking Up Shahnaz's face - what was left of it - smells of a day-old barbecue, left out in the rain. Her flesh was a mess of burnt meat: her skin, the soft flesh of her cheeks, and the bones beneath had been burned away. Her nose was gone and her lips hung down over her chin like melted wax. Her left eyelid could not close, thus it watered all the time in an endless stream of tears. Shahnaz - who was 21 years old - had been punished by having acid thrown in her face. Her crime was to be a Muslim woman who wanted to be treated as equal to a man (Hari). Chief Joseph once said: “The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.” Every human being has their own rights and standing up for our own rights is reasonable. Even so, many people are victimized by standing up for their rights. As mentioned earlier, Shahnaz is one of the victims that are abused by speaking out what she wants. Shahnaz loved education - especially science and poetry. However, when she got married at the insistence of her family - her husband ordered her to stop schooling and start breeding. "You are a woman, that is your only job," he said. Nevertheless, she refused and she wanted to work for herself and enrich her mind. Therefore, she kept going to school, despite his beatings, ragings and threats. Nevertheless, one day, her husband and his brothers carefully gathered up battery acid, pinned her down and poured it into her face. She ended up in the Acid Survivors' Foundation in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, acid attacks on "uppity" women are an epidemic, peaking in 2002 with 500 women having their faces burned off. Fewer than 10% of the attackers are convicted because juries and judges say the women bring it on themselves by wearing "revealing" clothes, or refusing to obey men (Hari). All these have proven that people are being
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