Women’s outcries for safety became more audible in the aftermath of the gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman in Delhi last December. Increasingly, male voices are entering the discussion as well.
Take Ali Shahidy, for example. He initially wrote an essay about becoming a feminist in Afghanistan under a pseudonym. As “Salim Hussaini,” he wrote candidly for the Women Under Siege website:
Growing up in Afghanistan, I had already watched my father beat my mother—but that was seen as just another part of daily life. Then the cycle of violence continued when I myself became an abuser. I began to beat my sisters and harass girls in the street. I restricted my sisters’ movements, how they looked, and who they spoke to. Afghan customs taught me that the honor of my family was more important than the physical and psychological well being of my own siblings. I was following accepted cultural norms without shame.
Confronted with his sister’s abusive marriage, however, Shahidy changed his mind:
To help my sister, I had to fight with mullahs and our elders; I had to struggle with practices, beliefs, and values that filled my life since birth… After helping Soraya, I knew I had a responsibility to fight for women’s rights in a larger way.
PRI’s The World is hosting a discussion with Shahidy and a panel of people in the thick of the movement about the roles of men when it comes to movements for women’s safety.
Join this conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #worldgender. Then join producer Jeb Sharp, guests and me in a live-stream conversation on Thursday, April 11 at 10AM EST.