Stories of Girls’ Resistance

State censorship and community backlash

When life, mind and body are at risk

State censorship and community backlash

When life, mind and body are at risk

From Syria to Sudan, Guyana to Nicaragua, India to Sri Lanka and beyond, the stories depict contexts of dictators, repressive governments, armed conflicts, and restrictive environments where girls, non binary people, women’s and LGBTQI rights and freedoms are under threat.

Repressive regimes and closing civic spaces have a harsh and lasting impact on girls’ and womens’ lived realities. From whether they can attend school or how they are recognised and seen in public life, girls’ earliest experiences are shaped by the restrictions placed on their self expression, freedom of movement, and contributions to society.

Girls’ experience and witness situations of extreme violence and backlash in all regions and corners of the world, from silenced creative expression, banned books, to people disappearing as a result of their activism. This impacts girls’ psyches and results in self censorship fueled by fear and sometimes forcing compliance as the only way to survive. Often their very access to basic services is linked to whether they are publicly seen as sympathetic to the regime. For many, fleeing the situation does not mean the end of repressive forces in their lives.

[I was afraid of] getting hurt in some way. Because our history in Guyana when it comes to protesters is very violent. Not under this government but under the previous government. Particularly protesters would be killed execution-style, which was something that was in the back of my mind, I didn’t make it too big of a fear because, I don’t know, but it was something that was at the back of my mind, that maybe we were going to get hurt. But I didn’t want to let that deter me necessarily.


We made, at some point, a decision to just not use the label of feminism that openly because we were able to help more young girls by not doing it. So all of our content and all of our activities were all focused on girl power, which also sounds less scary, I guess, than feminism in some places – but it was also very positive. We weren’t taking a stand as a foundation, at least, in such issues as the abortion band because we just decided to focus on adolescent girls – so girls from age 13 to 20. And that allowed us to do much more good than if we had labelled ourselves differently.


Living in intidafa, which was the biggest moment in my country, and being threatened all the time by bombing, evasions, night raids. I was around 7 years old.

Occupied Palestine

From 2008, I even wrote to the Special Rapporteur of Human Rights Defenders, to intervene in my case because I went on TV to talk about homosexuality in Kenya and the oppression that was happening to the people who were identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and I was physically attacked; I was sexually assaulted. I went to report to the police and they even further assaulted me. So, since 2008, I did not have a period of time when I was not moving houses or moving countries. For me, my resistance has cost me my life, has cost me my freedom, my sanity, my family, and my choices.


After doctor Taylor was murdered, one of the doctors he was practicing with came here to New Mexico to practice. With that some of the most extreme people who do not support abortion access followed. They are all over New Mexico communities with giant car billboards of supposed aborted foetuses that they had made up. They’re at physicians’ homes yelling at their families. So almost anything related to reproductive health, we just have to worry about that type of lateral violence. We’ve gotten hate mail here. We have to worry about who calls the office and whether or not they’re trying to trick us into saying something. If they would edit our calls – that sort of thing. So anything related to reproductive health we’re always dealing with that kind of lateral violence. Even though we’re not service providers we’re pulled into that as people who believe in access.

United States of America

…afterwards I faced with local Mass Media. In Informpolis there was an article about us that… I always thought that newspapers should be neutral and broadcast information in a neutral way. But then in this article they were not neutral at all, they slung mud on us and all comments were awful. I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t have a depression, I just stopped checking information about it. But it was very strange to me that people could react in such a way. I didn’t expect such reaction. It was a changing point. Since then I can’t say that I was very active.

Buryatia, Russia