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She was born a peasant during one of the most tumultuous periods of her country's history. By the age of 17, at the siege of Orleans, she was instrumental in the defeat of English forces, a turning point in the Hundred Years War. From then on, that little farm girl from rural France was leading armies against her country's biggest foe. And she was winning. She was rallying morale, advising the king and noblemen, and liberating her country. At the age of 19 she was captured by a pro-English faction. She was charged with heresy, undoubtedly because the time she lived in wouldn't allow a young woman to have such a major impact in warfare. Among her crimes: cross-dressing. She adorned male military attire throughout her campaigns and kept her hair short. She did this as threats of rape were made against her. She did this because threats of rape were made against her (she wore military attire because it gave her the ability to fasten her hosen, boots and tunic together into one piece, which deterred rape by making it difficult to pull her hosen off, something female clothing couldn't provide.) For that, she was sentenced to death. But women like Joan of Arc, even in the archaic time she lived in, couldn't face such a fate without the world noticing. She was martyred upon her death. And in May of 1920, Pope Benedict XV canonized Joan. She was young woman whose life was cut short by the politics of her time. But her courage, vision, and ability to work an unfair system made her a legend. This is still happening now. We still have young ladies in this world who are disregarding norms and leading people to liberty. Every single one realizes that she who is brave is free.
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