When it comes to sexual violence, these things happen, but in small numbers. There is no society that is free of that, but the numbers are relatively small. For women in general, there are so many risks that we face: the direct shelling, the fact that there is no safe shelter for us.
Even as civil defence, when we go about our work on a daily basis, we are not sure we are going to return to our homes the same day. There's also the problem with arrests. Lots of women have been detained. They're away. We don't know what happens to them. Some people leave their detention places, and they subjected to horrific torture, so basically being arrested and detained is a very major concern.
Yes, we have the shelling, but the detention is very serious, as is the economic situation of women. There are so many women who have lost their men, and now the women find themselves fully responsible for their own families. Sometimes a woman has to be displaced to other places in the hope of finding safety. There are large numbers who hope to find safety and economic resources for the family.
We have a big group of women and young girls who have had to leave education. They could not pursue their education because the regime would detain women as a weapon, to pressure their families to surrender themselves and to stop participating in the revolution. Women are not able to pursue their education beyond grade 9.
As for health services for women, some pregnant women lost their lives. They died for lack of medical supplies or for lack of medical facilities that could perform surgeries.
We have so many children who lost their parents. There are lots of children who are unable to get an education, and they are unable to read or write. Lots of children have been physically injured, and they have become disabled. There are no centres to rehabilitate such disabled children.
Lots of women, lots of children have struggled psychologically, and they have severe psychological shocks and psychological problems because they have witnessed horrific scenes happening to their families or they have seen their parents being killed.
Imagine a child looking at the head of their mother who was targeted by a rocket when they thought they were safe in the lower level of a building. When the children were rescued, they were covered with the blood and body parts of their own families, so you weren't sure whether they were injured themselves or not. Such children struggle with fear and horror as soon as they hear any noise. Even if it's not loud, they scream.
When I came to Canada, I just heard a bus at one point, and I thought I was in Tehran. I thought there was a plane, and I started looking for shelter. This is the kind of psychological suffering that we have. We are unable to leave that climate of war that haunts us. Imagine women and children who have been subjected to horrific crimes.