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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

‘Difficult Dialogues’ panel discusses women’s rights in different countries

Jennifer+Ponce+Cori+at+the+%E2%80%9CDifficult+Dialogues%E2%80%9D+panel+in+Posvar+Hall+on+Wednesday+evening.
Amber Farabaugh | Staff Photographer
Jennifer Ponce Cori at the “Difficult Dialogues” panel in Posvar Hall on Wednesday evening.

“Try to create a world you want to vote in,” Fayezeh Haji Hassan said during Pitt’s “Difficult Dialogues: Naming State Violence Against Women in Different Contexts,” event on Wednesday

Panel moderator Laura Lovett led the discussion, the first of several in Pitt’s Women’s History Month series, featuring four different guest speakers Jennifer Ponce Cori, Naima Mohammadi, Fayezeh Haji Hassan and Jasmine Green. 

Hassan, an associate lawyer, began the panel by discussing women’s rights in Iran. She spoke about Mahsa Amini, who died under mysterious circumstances at a hospital after not wearing a hijab. Amini’s death sparked a ”SayHerName” movement, with X users reposting her name over 300 million times, and sparking protests in Pittsburgh. 

“We were just shouting and yelling to say her name, because every time we said her name, it just choked. I could see the goosebumps on my own body and a lot of other people, because for the first time, I could actually go to the street and shout and ask for justice,” Hassan said. 

After the protests, Hassan said she received emails regarding who was involved in the protest, which noted that given the Say Her Name movement’s origins with the Black Lives Matter protests the adapted movement should have acknowledged Black women’s advocacy. 

“We have borrowed it from the people who work before us. I’m hoping that we will create some tools that people are first going to use because unfortunately this fight and this struggle to get our rights continue,” Hassan said. 

Continuing the talk about violence against women, Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies Assistant Professor Naima Mohammadi highlighted the marginalization of Muslim women in the region including Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

“Women’s agency and autonomy are under question because of the dominance of the patriarchal tribal system and conservative religious beliefs,” Mohammadi said. 

Mohammadi said women are afraid to speak out against their discrimination due to the severe repression by the central government. Because of this, Mohammadi said sexual assault and violence cases go underreported and are often hard to study. 

“Social and cultural context is difficult, and it turns them vulnerable. Subjectivity has put them in the position of being a victim of state violence,” Mohammadi said. “I would like to focus on the reason that women remain silent in the face of sexual assault and violence by government forces, those who are supposed to create security and safety in this region.”

According to Mohammadi, in some Middle Eastern countries, women can be afraid of the stigma that comes with speaking out against violence in their region. 

“Indigenous women are afraid of the stigma of betrayal and being killed under the title of honor, which is very common, so they don’t find any safe place to raise their issues,” Mohammadi said. 

Mohammadi said she encourages feminist movements to help bring awareness to these issues.

“I just wanted to mention how such a movement can be inspiring for women,” Mohammadi said. 

While Mohammadi and Hassan talked about women’s rights in the Middle Eastern region, doctoral student Jennifer Ponce Cori discussed women’s rights in South America, specifically in the south of Peru, Bolivia and north of Chile. She noted that these women face government repression in the form of lack of free speech and high rates of crime. 

“My mother went to the streets because it’s your right to protest against the government and the media can do so,” Ponce Cori said. 

With political unrest happening in these regions, specifically Peru, Ponce Cori said the unrest demands the president’s resignation, police repression and self-determination for Indigenous people. 

Jasmine Green, director of education at 1Hood Media Academy, continued the talk about police brutality, specifically against Black women in America. 

“Black women live in an unrelenting state of safety. When I speak of violence, I do not simply speak of physical or emotional harm against an individual or a group. Such a definition is too narrow and does not provide a full complexity to the ecosystem,” Green said. “We are drawing the definition of violence, which is the development and reimagining of public safety in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.”

Green said things included in these definitions can be unemployment and adequate housing, public education, food insecurity and racism. 

“We recognize the intentional efforts by the state-recognized entities to segregate and destabilize Black communities, through redlining on affordable housing costs, on equal distribution of tax dollars to school districts, lax or nonexistent policies on removal of lead, disproportionate policing, urban renewal and gentrification,” Green said. 

According to Green, police brutality can also be attributed to the state. “Due to the intersection of race, gender and class, Black living girls are more likely to be killed or utilized than other races of women at the hands of police,” Green said. 

As a result of these statistics, Green said Black women organized protests and movements like Black Lives Matter to demand police accountability. However, many names of Black women still go unrecognized. 

“This led to the creation of the Say Her Name campaign, which discusses the specific ways in Black women are targeted and brutalized by the state, and then subsequently have their stories vary by the media,” Green said. 

Green ended her discussion by saying that Black women have been used to justify the refusal to increase the presence of public safety nets. Using the metaphor that if someone were to put a frog in boiling water it will jump, but if they slowly increase the heat, it will boil to death. 

Referencing how Black women created some protest movements for other groups, Green said, “If we allow the water to continue boiling for Black women, who will follow us?”



About the Contributor
Emma Hannan, Staff Writer