Religion has waged war on our vaginas, breasts and abdomens – it's time for this to end

A topless Femen activist with 'grab patriarchy by the balls' painted on her back protests in front of the wax statue of Donald Trump at the Wax Museum of Madrid on January 17, 2017.Getty Images

We live in a time and place where everyone, religious or not, regardless of nationality and origin, is a walking target for religious extremists moved by dogmas.

A time when far-right nationalists, capitalising on fear and the terrorist threat, spread more hate and discrimination against minorities, especially Muslims.

It's a time when those whom are supposed to be our allies turn their backs as part of the regressive left and leave the criticism of religious extremism to xenophobes. And when, to my personal deep sadness, some women endorse values created to oppress them with so-called religious feminism.

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It is a time when tools of religious oppression and violence are defended in the name of culture, tradition and, with special cynicism, in the name of liberty and free choice.

A time when progressive societies give up in front of religious lobbies and sacrifice human rights (and too often it is women's rights) on the altar of political and religious correctness.

But at this time, I celebrate freedom of conscience and if for that I have to burn in hell, it will be a pleasure.

I celebrate women's rights, creativity, strength and solidarity - and denounce the greatest obstacle for feminism which is organised religions. Every day, words pronounced in the Vatican, in Mecca, in Jerusalem, in churches, mosques and synagogues across the world emphasise women's inferiority.

Every day, a new headline informs us about violence committed against women either because they wore a skirt in Saudi Arabia, took off their hijabs in Iran, went to school in Pakistan, aborted in Poland, demanded divorce in Israel, because they changed their beliefs or simply fell in love with someone.

Despite the wish of my parents, I did not become a doctor, but I nevertheless recently studied anatomy. Alongside my comrade and young writer Pauline Hillier, we published a book in France that studies the anatomy of women's oppression by the three main monotheist religions and their institutions.

In our Anatomie de l'oppression, we show how religions oppress women through their body, by penetrating each part of it - each organ - with patriarchal views, rules and demands.

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Religious institutions have waged a war on our vaginas for centuries. With the cult of virginity and motherhood, they deny women's sexuality, and even sometimes fanatically cut clitorises, crippling around 200 million girls and women alive today.

Women protest the abortion ban in Warsaw, PolandKacper Pempel/ Reuters

They want to control our abdomens too - as only 58 countries provide abortions on request. As a result, an estimated 78,000 women die every year from unsafe or self-performed abortions.

Let's continue scanning the body and stop on the breasts. This women's body part is a subject of both hyper-sexualisation and modesty by patriarchal institutions. Religious institutions - with their modesty dress-codes - emphasise on covering up women with a loose dress as they consider the breasts as an overtly-sexual body part that should be shamefully hidden, even when breastfeeding.

With my fellow activists from FEMEN, we have transformed our breasts into a political instrument, into a political poster with different slogans. We say our bodies can be sexual when we decide, but that they will also be political when we decide.

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Now, I bring your attention to the next organ of our bodies - the heart. Let's look at it in a metaphorical way and find out that religious institutions ignore, deny and take our right for our feelings as we count today 26 millions arranged marriages across the world, and millions of girls each year become child brides.

Women in Judaism and Islam struggle for a right to divorce and numbers of women die and experience violence for adultery and as a result of honour killings. Religions are most often enemies of LGBT rights.

Look at my hands, these women's hands that many religious traditions prohibit to shake, to demonstrate that women cannot count on peace and friendship from men as they are not equal according to the religious dogmas. These hands are deprived from accessing the instruments of power and wealth.

And finally, our heads, the temples of our personalities, emotions, dreams, our thoughts, ideas and our revolt are the targets of their constant attacks through oppressive rules. Their fetishism over our hair results in laws of compulsory hijab that force women, regardless of their choice, to cover up in many countries of the world.

They attempt to penetrate the schools with their dogmas as they know that knowledge makes us unfit to be slaves.

It is time to answer the fantasies of patriarchal religions by reality: to tell them out loud that we do not see ourselves in a mirror as submissive, inferior and guilty slaves. We rather see proud, capable and free women who stand for each other. We can wear long dresses on Monday and shorts on Tuesday, we can read, sing, lough and speak loud.

We can successfully oppose global patriarchy by opposing their most successful instrument: organised religion. Not your faith, not your spirituality but their rules and traditions created to hold power over us. Let us be rebels rather than slaves.

I am not making a declaration of war. On the contrary, I call to end the historical conflict between women and religions. I call everyone, freethinkers, secularists, atheists, believers, free and equal citizens of the world to end the war on women.

It is time to speak out about the crimes by organised religions. I invite everyone, with all our differences, to join this fight, because freedom is never given, it is always obtained.

I look forward to a day when religious fanatics, sexists and misogynists fed by monotheist dogmas go down on their knees, not to pray for support from their gods - but in front of women to pray for their forgiveness.

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