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Archive for April, 2014

Don’t Separate ‘Honour Crimes’ From Other Violence Against Women

Most would agree that with a women murdered every six days in Canada, we need to address gendered violence in all its forms. This cannot be done, tempting and reassuring as it might be, by simplistically attributing the problem to one religious group to the exclusion of others.

In the Clarion Project’s latest documentary titled Honour Diaries, now making its way around North America, the producers seem bent on doing just that. The documentary claims to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents us from addressing the human rights disaster that is honour-based violence. There is no doubt that violence against women motivated by the preservation of family honour continues to be a problem in many parts of the world, including here in Canada. Labeling it as an exclusively Muslim problem, however, is not only inaccurate but also threatens to overlook the systemic problems at the root of all gendered violence. Doing so further risks promoting bigotry that will alienate those best placed to address the problem.

In fact, organizations like the Canadian Council of Muslim Women refuse to even use the term “honour killing” preferring the term “femicide” instead. It is after all murder in all cases. In their view, the term honour needlessly separates women and girls into groups based on race, culture and religion. The term has ballooned to include a large swathe of activities — everything from murder of women with foreign sounding names, forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, to selective abortion. It is hard to find anything in common except that these activities are somehow associated with people from “non-Western” traditions.

Essentially, honour crimes describe crimes that are not all that different from other violence against women. They are crimes with power and control at their core. They are a violent denial of the right of women to choose for themselves how to live their lives.


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Female Genital Mutilation: Teachers told to ‘check holiday plans’ of children at risk of FGM

Teachers and schools should check on the holiday arrangements of pupils from communities which practice female genital mutilation (FGM), a conference was told.

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ annual conference became the first teachers to discuss the issue at a national conference yesterday when they called on the Home Office to draw up a national strategy for eradicating the practice in the UK.

Helen Porter, from Berkshire, moving the motion, told the conference it was estimated 66,000 women resident in England and Wales had undergone the process and over 23,000 girls under the age of 15 were at risk or had already undergone FGM.

“As education staff, we need to raise awareness and encourage young women and women to question FGM,“  said Ms Porter. ”We need to help reposition FGM in terms of violence against women and girls not cultural practice.


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Girl Commits Suicide After Being Forced To Marry Her Rapist

A 16-year-old Moroccan girl has committed suicide after a judge ordered her to marry her rapist, according to Moroccan media reports.
Last year Amina al-Filali’s parents filed charges against their daughter’s rapist, a man 10 years older than her but it was only recently that a judge in the northern city of Tangier decided that instead of punishing him, the two must be married.

The court’s decision to forcibly marry Amina to her rapist was supposed to “resolve” the damage of sexual violation against her, but it led to more suffering in the unwelcoming home of her rapist/husband’s family.
“After I filed a complaint against him, he said he will marry her. And when he married her and took her to his family’s home he mistreated her, beating her and leaving her starve with no food,” Zahra Mallim, Amina’s mother told the Morocco’s 2M TV.
Traumatized by the painful experience of rape, Amina decided to end her life by consuming rat poison in the house of her husband’s family, according to the Moroccan daily al-Massae. According to the newspaper, this type of forced marriage is rooted in local rural traditions to safeguard the honor of girls who are raped.
Moroccan penal code exempts a rapist from punishment if he agrees to marry his victim.“When the judge said they will marry, I did not agree, but I could not challenge the law. I wanted that man (the rapist) to go to prison,” Lahsan al-Filali, Amina’s father, told the 2M.
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Newham College student organises seminar on FGM and forced marriage

A 15-year-old student at Newham College organised a seminar on women’s rights that featured speeches by famous campaigners.

Abdul Vijad, who lives in Manor Park, held the seminar at the College’s East Ham Campus as part of his Citizenship GCSE.

Abdul, who was born in India, says he chose to invite speakers to discuss female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage because they affect the lives of many young people.

He said: “We split our class into two groups – one organised forced marriage and the other FGM. “We know that they are culturally sensitive issues and some people don’t want touch them.

“But we also know that if we don’t look at them nothing will ever change.” He added: “FGM can cause physical harm and long lasting health issues. Young people should be aware that forced marriage is a cultural issue, but they should also know that they shouldn’t have to go through it without their informed consent.”

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Clamping down on forced marriage and FGM worldwide: All hail this new piece of law

The British Government now has a legal obligation to consider how the aid it gives a foreign country can help the rights of women and girls worldwide – including, for example, reducing forced marriage and FGM – under new rules going through Parliament on Thursday. International development secretary Justine Greening explains the significance

This landmark piece of UK legislation puts this and future governments under a legal obligation to place gender equality at the heart of all our overseas aid programmes. In other words, we must consider how we could help reduce forced marriage, or FGM, for example, when we giveBritish aid to overseas countries. It will be life-changing for millions ofoppressed girls and women all over the world.

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Men ‘can play a big part in tackling FGM’

An anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) campaigner has urged men to play a more prominent role in tackling the issue.

According to Edna Adan, former foreign minister of Somaliland, males have often taken the “easy way out” and dismissed FGM as a “woman’s affair”, the Evening Standard reports.

She has therefore called on men to change their attitudes in order to help eradicate the practice. “The men are my target because these girls have a mother and a father,” Ms Adan commented. “You can put your foot down if you are the head of the family.”

Ms Adan went on to note that attitudes towards FGM are changing around the world and countries are increasingly taking steps to clamp down on the procedure. According to the World Health Organization, FGM offers no medical benefits to girls and women and can make victims vulnerable to a number of health issues later on, such as infection and infertility.

The body also believes people who have undergone the procedure are particularly likely to experience complications when giving birth.



Middlesbrough project’s new campaign to help victims of forced marriage and ‘honour’ violence

“Honour” violence and forced marriage is a taboo subject but it is Time for Change, as reporter Sarah Dale finds out

Halo shines a light on victims of “honour” violence and forced marriage.

The Halo Project, now in its second year, provides support and, where necessary, intervention to protect those on Teesside at risk of honour-based violence and forced marriage. It has launched a new Time for Change campaign ahead of new legislation making forced marriage illegal in the UK.

In Teesside there have been a number of female suicides, often by fire, as well as murders of South Asian women and children, who have been considered to have brought “shame” or “dishonour” to their family. Since launching in 2011, the response to The Halo Project, in central Middlesbrough, has been overwhelming with more than 100 victims coming forward for support and hundreds calling for advice.

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