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Connie Schultz lays out why she is optimistic about the future of women’s rights despite the hardships faced by women around the world, in her new column, “We Are The Women:”

For the past week, the front section of The New York Times’ Dec. 28 issue has been sitting on my kitchen counter in Ohio, growing increasingly crinkled from use and sprinkled with circles, arrows and the occasional exclamation point.

The recent wave of anti-choice legislation in my state and across the country has made me keenly aware of attacks on women in America. Perhaps that is why I was so drawn to the Times’ stunning chronicle of women’s lives. I still can be astonished by how regularly the target of masculine rage is women.

From Somalia: A rape victim, draped in long folds of soft gray fabric, stood alone in a room, her face buried in her hands. She is one of thousands of women and girls being gang-raped and abused by militants who seize them as the spoils of a “holy war.”

From Cairo: An administrative judge ruled that the Egyptian military violated female demonstrators’ human rights by forcing them to undergo “virginity tests” meant to humiliate them.

From Israel: An 8-year-old girl whose parents are Orthodox Jews was terrified of walking to school, after ultra-Orthodox men spat on her and called her a prostitute because her modest dress failed to meet their more rigid dress code. The incident ignited outrage in Israel and around the world.

President Trump and former Defense Secretary James Mattis

Under ordinary circumstances, open dissent from high-ranking military officials against the actions of civilian political leaders would signal a danger familiar to other countries. Such rumblings from military circles often indicate that constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy and that martial law, or even a coup d'etat, may be on the horizon.

In these extraordinary circumstances, however, all expectations are reversed — and the usual order of things is turned upside down.

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