Archive for March, 2016

British girls as young as 10 face harm from breast ironing with stones heated on hot coals in ritual imported from west Africa

Around 1,000 British girls face harm from the ‘abhorrent’ practice of breast ironing, ministers have warned.

In the brutal procedure, hot objects [stones, a hammer or a spatula] are used to pound and beat girls’ breasts to stop them growing in the belief it makes them less desirable and discourages premarital pregnancy.

Breast ironing originated in Cameroon, where it affects as many as one in four.

It also takes place in Nigeria, Benin and Chad. This week Jake Berry, the Conservative MP for Rossendale & Darwen, said he was shocked to learn girls in west African communities in Birmingham and London were victims too.

The process uses stones, a hammer or a spatula heated over hot coals to mutilate the breast tissue and make the girls look less 'womanly' - around 1,000 British girls face harm from the practice, it has been revealed

It is very difficult to spot as most of the perpetrators were the victims’ own mothers.

Mr Berry used freedom of information requests to show how little is known about the practice among child protection professions and the police.

A quarter of children’s services department had not been trained to look for signs, while one in seven police forces had never heard of it.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3510492/British-girls-young-10-face-harm-breast-ironing-stones-heated-hot-coals-ritual-imported-west-Africa.html#ixzz44HoXQg00

Professionals ‘Still Concerned About Tackling Honour-Based Violence’

Professionals are still concerned about tackling so-called honour-based violence because of “cultural sensitivities”, a Home Office Minister has admitted.

Karen Bradley said “certain professionals” still do not have the confidence to question harmful child abuse happening in the UK.

Professionals 'still concerned about tackling honour-based violence'

She raised the concerns during a House of Commons debate on breast ironing, a practice which originated in Cameroon but is now believed to have affected up to 1,000 girls in Britain.

Breast ironing uses hot objects heated on a stove to pound and massage girls’ breasts during puberty to retard their growth, in the belief it will make the girls less sexually attractive.

Questioned on the role of schools in tackling harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and breast ironing, the Minister (pictured) said: “I know there are certain professionals who may feel reticent about this.

 

Read More: http://www.careappointments.co.uk/care-news/england/item/39318-professionals-still-concerned-about-tackling-honour-based-violence

Forest Gate students organise forced marriage campaign

Everyone should have a choice in who they marry. That was the message at Azhar Academy Girls School, who arranged a forced marriage campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

Guest speakers at the school in Romford Road, Forest Gate, included representatives from the government’s Forced Marriage Unit and the Sharan project, which helps vulnerable women from south Asian communities.

Also speaking at the event was Cmdr Mak Chishty, the highest-ranking Muslim police officer in the UK.

Part of the afternoon saw girls and guests alike write statements on why they are against forced marriage, which were then put on display in the school.

Organisers Sabah Athar, 14, Arooj Khan, 14 and Maryam Rashid, 15

Organisers Sabah Athar, 14, Arooj Khan, 14 and Maryam Rashid, 15

They also learnt about the signs of forced marriage and where to go for support should they or a friend find themselves at risk.

Read More:  http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/education/forest_gate_students_organise_forced_marriage_campaign_1_4462408

The girls who escaped ISIS – but still became child brides: Pictures of the tragic refugees who were forced to marry because their families can’t afford to keep them

Syrian girls as young as nine are being forced to marry men double their age to escape war and poverty in their homeland.

Pregnant mother-of-one Marwa, 15, was just 12 years old when she wed her husband, now 23, because her father could no longer afford to look after his large family.

And Rukayya, who is just 14 years old, was given a teddy bear as an engagement gift ahead of her own nuptials. They are just two of a whole generation of Syrian girls living in a makeshift camp in Hawsh el Harimi, which ironically means ‘place of women’, in Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, who have become child brides.

Young: Syrian girl Rukayya, 14, holds a teddy bear in her arms, which was given to her as an engagement gift ahead of upcoming nuptials 

Young: Syrian girl Rukayya, 14, holds a teddy bear in her arms, which was given to her as an engagement gift ahead of upcoming nuptials 

Photographer Laura Aggio Caldon, who is based in Italy, travelled to the village last year to document the girls’ distressing stories.

She said the marriages, caused by Syria’s civil war, are creating a ‘lost generation’, CNN reports. Writing on her website, Ms Caldon said: ‘Early marriages were practiced even before the Syrian crisis, but the impoverishment of families, poor security and the war have facilitated the rise of this phenomenon.

‘Marriages in refugee camps in Lebanon often involve girls of 11 to 13 years, and extreme cases of girls as young as nine years old.

‘Parents often give economic reasons and security to explain what pushes them into marrying off their daughters.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3493143/The-refugees-forced-child-brides-Portraits-tragic-girls-fled-ISIS-married-age-NINE.html#ixzz43BD7K3pX
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People in Leeds urged to get involved in forced marriage web chat

A West Yorkshire Police boss will host a dedicated web chat discussing forced marriage.

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Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, is hosting the web chat to give members of the public the chance to talk about the issue. It will be held from 7pm to 8pm on Tuesday, March 22.

Read more: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/top-stories/people-in-leeds-urged-to-get-involved-in-forced-marriage-web-chat-1-7798876#ixzz435B0LevW

UK is failing girls who flee forced marriage, says honour abuse survivor

At 12 years old, Shaheen Hashmat left her family home in Scotland to escape the threat of forced marriage to a stranger in Pakistan. At 13, she attempted suicide.

Hashmat, who now campaigns against forced marriage and “honour based” violence, says Britain urgently needs better mental health services for girls and women escaping these situations.

“There needs to be far more training about the increased risk of suicide and the impact of family estrangement,” said Hashmat, who won the True Honour 2016 award on Thursday for her bravery in standing up to honour abuse.

Experts say thousands of girls and women in Britain are subjected to  every year as a way of controlling behaviour perceived as bringing shame on their family. Hashmat, now 33, grew up in a strict Pakistani family in which every aspect of her life was policed from the TV she watched to the people she spoke to and even the way she sat.

She was beaten and saw others in her family beaten too. Her two older sisters were forced into marriage as teenagers after being sent “on holiday” to Pakistan. As she grew up she started to challenge what was happening around her. “If I had stayed the physical abuse would have increased because I was seen as being out of control and becoming too westernised,” she told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3487516/UK-failing-girls-flee-forced-marriage-says-honour-abuse-survivor.html#ixzz42bffpQyO

Official data on forced marriages in UK may hide true scale of abuse

Figures showing that 1,220 possible cases of forced marriage in Britain were reported to the authorities last year may not reflect the full scale of abuse, the Home Office has said.

A child bride

More than a quarter of possible cases of forced marriage in the UK involved victims aged under 18. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

The official figures show that the number of cases reported to the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) via its public helpline or email fell by 3%, or 47 cases, in 2015, continuing the downward trend of the last six years.

The unit, a joint Home and Foreign Office operation, received 350 calls a month and offered help or support in 1,220 cases. Some of the 350 were repeat calls about cases, or were about other issues, including divorces, annulments and sham marriages.

Almost 80% were from professionals, colleagues, friends or family, and only a small proportion from victims themselves.

Read More: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/08/number-of-forced-marriages-in-uk-continues-to-fall

Slough charity to train hairdressers to spot forced marriage

Hairdressers and beauticians are to be trained to spot the signs of forced marriage.

Slough charity Jeena International is launching an initiative in the Houses of Parliament later.

Founder Rani Bilku said people in the wedding industry would be trained to identify potential victims and know who to alert. Potential signs included a booking being made days ahead of the event or by someone other than the bride.

Ms Bilku said: “If a professional thinks, something doesn’t add up, we want to make sure they know where to go.

Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-35742868

 

Forced Marriage Campaign: Seasonal Reminder Ahead of Easter School Holidays

Ahead of the start of the school Easter holiday, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and West Yorkshire Police is reminding people of the signs to look out for of forced marriage and honour-based violence.

Campaign poster

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.

The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.

From June 2014, it became a crime to force someone to marry against their will.

Over the school holidays intelligence suggests that there tends to be an increase in forced marriages. In the run up to, and over the easter holidays, officers are working with schools, airport staff and the wider community in raising awareness of the signs to spot that someone may be being forced to marry against their will or be a victim of honour-based violence.

Read More: http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/news/forced-marriage-campaign-seasonal-reminder-ahead-easter-school-holidays

YEP Says: Backing the fight to eradicate honour violence

IF NISHA’s ordeal was an isolated one, it would be bad enough.

That many young women have had to endure similar experiences is a reminder that our society still has a long way to go to eradicate honour-based violence and forced marriage.

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL.

The Karma Nirvana charity took 126 calls from victims in Leeds last year and 358 from West Yorkshire.

“Without a doubt, Leeds has more cases than what we are seeing reflected in the figures,” said charity founder Jasvinder Sanghera. “The worrying thing is there are young people across the city that don’t know that forced marriage is a criminal offence and it is wrong. They have taught to be silent. “It is under-reported and we have a duty to bring it above the ground.

“We want an increase in the number of cases being reported, to reduce isolation and ultimately save lives.” There is hope, as Nisha demonstrated when she managed to break free from her domestic prison.

Read more: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/your-leeds/yep-says/yep-says-backing-the-fight-to-eradicate-honour-violence-1-7778652#ixzz42JtnDxIW

Read more: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/your-leeds/yep-says/yep-says-backing-the-fight-to-eradicate-honour-violence-1-7778652#ixzz42JthMPTX

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