Archive for the ‘Honour Based Abuse’ Category

FORCED MARRIAGE: IT IS GETTING WORSE SAY CAMPAIGNERS

A LEADING campaigner against forced marriage and an advisor to the Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has said the latest “shocking” figures on the issue are the “tip of the iceberg”.

Aneeta Prem, the founder of Freedom Charity, also revealed that 20 per cent of victims referred to the organisation are men and young boys.

Her comments were in response to statistics published in The Guardian on Monday (28), which revealed more than 3,500 forced marriage reports have made been to police in the past three years.

The report also added that charity Karma Nirvana had received almost 9,000 calls in 2017, including more than 200 from children under 15, related to forced marriage.

Prem told Eastern Eye that there are still far more cases yet to be exposed. “It’s a huge problem in the UK – it is increasing and not getting better. We know there are a lot more people going through this, but are too afraid to report it,” she said.

Yasmin Khan, the CEO and founder of Halo Project, a support network for forced marriage and honour-based violence victims, told Eastern Eye there is still a lack of awareness and understanding of what agencies should do to protect vulnerable adults and children.

“The important issue must be to protect and support those at risk, ensuring the first point of disclosure and reporting is dealt with correctly,” she said. “It is of paramount importance we help and support women, not just for forced marriage but for all the added abuse which comes with this violation of human rights.”

When contacted by Eastern Eye, a spokesperson from the Home Office said since the
introduction of the FMU in 2008, over 1,500 Forced Marriage Protection Orders prevented
people from being forced into a marriage and to assist in repatriating victims.

Forced marriage: It is getting worse say campaigners

Saira Khan: Forced marriage is often a form of child abuse – and it needs to end

For far too long the authorities in this country have backed off from talking about forced marriage – partly due to ignorance of what is involved, but mainly because they are scared of being called racist, writes Saira Khan

As I watched those loving glances pass between Harry and Meghan last week, I couldn’t help but think of my own wedding.

It was everything it should have been – one of the happiest days of my life.

But as I looked into my groom’s eyes and said my vows, I knew I was doubly lucky – so many girls of my cultural background are not allowed to marry for love.

So I was gratified to see the four- and-a-half-year jail sentence passed this week in Birmingham on a woman for taking her 13-year-old daughter to Pakistan and forcing her to sign a marriage contract with a 29-year-old man who then raped his terrified young “bride” and made her pregnant.

For far too long the authorities in this country have backed off from talking about forced marriage – partly due to ignorance of what is involved, but mainly because they are scared of being called racist.

As a British child in a family of Pakistani origin, I grew up watching young girls – and sometimes boys – being taken to Pakistan, India or even to different parts of the UK and made to marry partners their parents had chosen for the benefit of family and community honour.

In many ways, it’s the story of Rochdale and Telford all over again – police, social workers and politicians turning a blind eye to flagrant law-breaking in the name of not offending religious and cultural sensitivities.

Just as they wrote off those girls who were groomed and abused by mainly Asian gangs, they also ignored the plight of thousands of Asian teenagers married off to strangers and made to abandon their education for early motherhood and forced domesticity.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/saira-khan-forced-marriage-often-12601067

Thousands enslaved in forced marriages across UK, investigation finds

Experts say crime is woefully under-reported, as Guardian research shows large scale of domestic and sexual servitude.

More than 3,500 reports of forced marriage were made to police over a three-year period, a Guardian investigation has found, as charities warned that there were thousands more victims living in conditions of modern slavery in homes across the UK.

Data shared exclusively with the Guardian revealed 3,546 reports between 2014 and 2016. But experts warn that the figures, collected by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation under the Freedom of Information Act, are just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the same three-year period, one national helpline run by another NGO received 22,030 calls from individuals or agencies concerned about a forced marriage. In 2017, the NGO Karma Nirvana received a further 8,870 calls, including more than 200 from or about children under 15, and gave advice regarding eight new clients under 10.

The new figures reveal the shocking extent of forced marriage in Britain – a crime that experts say should be investigated and prosecuted as a form of modern slavery.

They point to the fact that a guilty verdict last week against a mother who trafficked her daughter to be married in Pakistan was the first of its kind in the country despite the large number of reported offences.

Legal experts and campaigners say modern slavery legislation could lead to an increase in convictions for a crime that is notoriously hard to prosecute because victims are reluctant to testify against family members.

Last week’s landmark conviction resulted in a mother from Birmingham being jailed for four-and-a-half years for duping her 17-year-old daughter into travelling abroad and forcing her into marriage.

The woman had threatened to rip up her daughter’s passport if she did not marry the 34-year-old Pakistani national who had got her pregnant when she was just 13.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/may/28/thousands-enslaved-in-forced-marriages-across-uk-investigation-finds

More than 1,000 cases of forced marriage in UK last year, report says

Official unit says issue is hidden crime and figures may not reflect full scale of abuse

Nearly 1,200 possible forced marriage cases were flagged up to a specialist service last year, figures show.

Of the 1,196 reports handled by the government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), more than a quarter involved victims below the age of 18, while one in five related to male victims.

The total number of cases registered in 2017 was down by 19% on the previous year, but officials said the fall did not represent a decrease in prevalence of forced marriage in the UK.

Forcing someone to marry against their will is a criminal offence that carries a maximum sentence of seven years. A forced marriage is defined as one in which one or both spouses do not consent to the union, and violence, threats or any other form of coercion are involved.

As an imam, I’m often asked about women’s role in Islam – and this is my message for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is an incredibly important date, which should act as a reminder that we must live its values on every other day of the year. This year, more than ever, men have a responsibility to take part in the conversation, and have a responsibility to do what they can to further women’s rights. It is not women’s responsibility alone.

I am often asked about women’s role in Islam. The reality is that women are an integral part of both Islam and Britain alike. The Quran regards men and women as equals in the sight of God. It’s time, then, that we champion the success of Muslim women such as Malala Yousafzai, Mishal Husain and Nadiya Hussain, who are throwing a positive spotlight on the contribution that Muslim women make to British society and who give young girls up and down the country and around the world someone to look up to.

Islam grants women, as it does men, fundamental rights to life, property, and opinion, and has done so for more than 14 centuries. However, it cannot be denied that despite this, they’ve had to fight for equality every step of the way. Men have sought control over their finances, opinions and fundamental rights to life, but “Time’s Up” on those controls; it’s time for a cultural shift.

A woman’s strength should be celebrated and supported – not abused or silenced.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/international-womens-day-2018-muslim-islam-rights-role-female-men-family-a8242481.html

Rise in reports of honour crime

Harrowing new figures have shown a rising number of victims of so-called ‘honour crimes’ coming forward amid campaigning efforts to raise awareness. Reports of honour based abuse have risen four-fold in West Yorkshire since 2015, police figures reveal, with reports of forced marriages trebling in this time. Leading charities, revealing they too have seen a 40 per cent rise in calls for help in the area in the past year, say massive steps are being taken by agencies prepares to tackle the issues. But experts say still more can be done nationally to ease the stigma and eliminate a persistent belief that such abuse is acceptable in any form. “There needs to be more education around choice and consent,” said Natasha Rattu from charity Karma Nirvana. “A lot of victims that contact us don’t realise they are being forced to marry – they say it’s an arranged marriage that they don’t want.”

A major effort in raising the profile of issues is seeing results, the region’s policing lead for forced marriage has said, amid a steep rise in the number of people coming forward. Honour crime reports rose from 44 in March 2015 to 176 in 2017. At the same time, reports of forced marriage trebled, from 90 to 266. West Yorkshire Police says it is encouraging that people feel more confident in coming forward, and that it is committed to this issue as a priority. The force has now revealed details of the number of forced marriage protection orders to safeguard victims recorded since new laws were introduced. A total of 33 orders were recorded in 2016, and 49 in 2017. “There is no honour in any form of abuse,” said Detective Chief Inspector Fran Naughton, Central Safeguarding Governance Unit. “We are trying to get the message across that, regardless of what someone may have been told by their family, everyone has the right to choose and forcing someone to marry against their will is a crime.”

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/crime/rise-in-reports-of-honour-crime-1-9045695

Welsh Government #thisisme campaign tackle gender stereotypes and prevent abuse

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by Welsh Government to tackle the underlying reasons for violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The multimedia campaign, launching today, is encouraging people to talk about their experiences and concepts of stereotypes using the hashtag #thisisme.

It includes TV, radio and online adverts showing people in situations and challenging ideas about gender.

This ranges from a man working as a midwife and woman working as a mechanic, to a young man expertly applying make-up and a girl playing with a truck, covered in mud.

The drive is also part of Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free campaign which is part of a longer term strategy looking at the causes and consequences of abuse and violence.

Leader of the house, Julie James AM, explained that “gender inequality is a cause and consequence of this abuse and violence” and that the campaign is part of an ongoing commitment to “rid Wales of the scourge of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

“It uses positive examples to challenge gender stereotypes and show that everyone has the right to be who they want to be and achieve their potential,” she said.

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/15903286.Campaign_launched_to_tackle_gender_stereotypes_and_prevent_abuse/

Honour violence and forced marriage crimes ‘go unpunished in London’

Hundreds of honour violence and forced marriage crimes are going unpunished in London, according to new figures.

Data shows that police recorded 759 honour violence crimes and 265 forced marriages in the capital between 2015 and 2017 – but just 138 people were charged with offences.

The statistics also show that prosecution rates for both crimes have fallen in the past three years.

Charities and campaigners today said the figures were worrying when nationally statistics showed the number of women coming forward to make allegations was rising.

Diana Nammi, executive director of the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, which provides refuge for victims, said : “What makes it so alarming is that figures that we obtained through freedom of information requests show that, at the same time, since the criminalisation of forced marriage in 2014, many more people at risk than ever before are coming forward for help.

“As “honour” based violence is perpetrated by the victim’s own family and community there is a lot of pressure on victims to drop cases and too often justice is not seen. “London must not be a safe haven for perpetrators of these horrific, damaging crimes. We need to see much more action from the Mayor of London to tackle “honour” based violence and his priority must be to fund women’s rights organisations like IKWRO who are best placed to support victims and survivors who courageously come forward.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/honour-violence-and-forced-marriage-crimes-go-unpunished-in-london-a3749331.html

Celine Dookhran trial: Woman given ’10 minutes to live’

A woman who survived an alleged attack by an accused rapist and murderer has described what she thought would be her last moments alive.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a court how Mujahid Arshid, 33, raped her then slashed her neck and wrists with a knife before telling her she had 10 minutes to live.

Mr Arshid is also accused of raping and murdering 20-year-old Celine Dookhran.

He denies all charges.

Ms Dookhran’s body was found “stuffed” inside a chest-high freezer in July 2017 in an empty house in Kingston, south London.

On day three of the trial, the Old Bailey was played a video interview the surviving woman gave from her hospital bed to detectives two days after the attack.

Jurors heard how both women “tried to relate” to Mr Arshid before he took Ms Dookhran, his niece, upstairs.

The woman, in her 20s, described hearing screaming and thudding, before eventually “there was no more noise.”

When the alleged killer emerged he said Ms Dookhran was “sleeping upstairs,” jurors heard.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-42750634

‘We say, time’s up!’ Who were the activists at the Golden Globes?

Marai Larasi

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“It felt profoundly meaningful to attend the Golden Globes alongside other inspirational activists and organisers fighting for equality for all women. So often in this work, women who have been marginalised in our societies are spoken ‘for’ and ‘about’, but we are rarely handed the microphone and invited to share our own narratives. Standing with women like Emma Watson, who work in Hollywood, and who have chosen to use platforms such as the Golden Globes to connect, to resist and to amplify, was uplifting.

“At Imkaan, we hold two decades of experience of working around issues such as domestic violence, forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence. We know that the struggle to end violence against women and girls must be rooted in an environment that attends to the impact of issues such as racism, economic inequality and immigration controls. We are mindful that this is a critical moment, where a clear message is being sent to survivors of violence: we see and hear you, we believe you, we support you. We are you. We say: time’s up!”

Larasi is the executive director of Imkaan, a UK-based, black feminist organisation that works to respond to and prevent violence against marginalised women and girls. She is also co-chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, and a partner in the EU/UN Women programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds”, which aims to end violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/08/golden-globes-activists-times-up-awards

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