Reem Abbas, Journalist

Sudan

“I was 12 years old when I was sexually harassed by a relative. I still remember what I was wearing that day and what he was wearing and the words he spoke as he was trying to force himself onto me. I fought back and found myself fighting since then. It took me four years to come to terms with what had happened and during this time, I was terrified of everything. I was terrified of men. If I found myself alone with a man in an elevator, I would get out. I saw everyone as a possible harasser. At the age of 17, I joined a feminist club in university and I discovered that my thoughts and feelings were actual theories. I was a feminist years before I officially became a feminist and began diving into literature and discovering icons. Since then, I’ve always fought for women’s rights and I have helped any young woman who reached out to seek assistance. I’ve located safe houses for victims of violence, gone to court with women to support them in fighting for justice and campaigned against abusers. As much as I love and thrive on this fight as much as I am constantly finding myself battling everything and everyone. The society corners you, puts labels and ostracizes you for challenging social norms you are expected to blindly uphold. You are ridiculed and your looks and words are scrutinized to point out your flaws and weaponize them to undermine the work you do. Breaking you only works if you are isolated from your support group. As much as it is exhausting, it is a duty to continue fighting with the hope that my journey inspires others to stand up for themselves and others.” Reem Abbas, Journalist

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