Courage to Say No
A Pakistani Female Doctor's Battle Against Sexual Exploitation
Raana Mahmood, John DeSimone
Sexual harassment is in the news almost every day. Countless women have been intimidated into silence or their careers and lives have been ruined because they refused to submit to unwanted sexual advances. Yet, sexual harassment coupled with corruption is not singularly an American affliction. It’s an ancient disease, a truly universal tale. Dr. Raana Mahmood's story, Courage to Stay No, is a narrative of standing up against sexual corruption in her home country of Pakistan. It epitomizes the courage, audacity, and determination required to resist becoming a victim in a culture that places little value on divorced women. One that openly allows men to have a second, a third, and a fourth wife, all at a man’s pleasure.
After escaping from her husband's physical, verbal, and emotional abuse with her young son in tow, Dr. Mahmood filed for divorce and took up residency as gynecologist at a nearby hospital. After facing years of harassment from her colleagues for being a working woman, and suffering a nervous breakdown because of the vitriol, Dr. Mahmood eventually received a grant of asylum from the United States, where she became an advocate for other women looking to escape domestic violence and an inspiration to those suffering in silence.
In the vein of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Infidel, Courage to Say No is a remarkable and empowering story for our times.