Posts Tagged ‘Asian’

How Australia can help end child marriage in Bangladesh

Rahela* married at age 13, about a year after both of her parents were killed by Cyclone Aila, which struck Bangladesh in 2009. “They had left me at my grandmother’s house. [Our house] was swept away. No one saw their dead bodies,” she said. Rahela went to live with her aunt and uncle but they were struggling to afford education for their own two children. “You know orphans don’t get education,” Rahela said. “My aunt and uncle asked me not to go to school— they said I should work in their house and look after their children.”

 How Australia can help end child marriage in Bangladesh

About a year later, her aunt and uncle arranged a marriage for her. “I can’t really blame them,” Rahela said. “They don’t have enough money to provide for their own children.” When Human Rights Watch interviewed Rahela last year, she was 17 and was struggling to care for her one year old son, saying she’s never recovered her strength after her pregnancy. “I really wanted to continue my education so I could get a job and stand on my own feet.” she said.

Read More: http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/opinions/how-australia-can-help-end-child-marriage-in-bangladesh/201506245935#.VYsB7s9Viko

Why I’ve Decided to Get an Arranged Marriage

Whenever I tell my friends that I’ve thought about getting married to a guy that my parents will pick for me, I always get the same response.

“Wait a minute, an arranged marriage!?”

“But why? Aren’t you worried!?”

“Last I checked it’s not the 1900s.”

Et cetera, et cetera.

They’re right, it’s definitely not the 1900s anymore. Times are changing and society is moving forward.

Like any other woman, when I was younger I was adamant about being in a love marriage — falling in love and getting married with or without my parents’ approval was the dream, just like in the movies. Of course my parents continuously squashed that idea right out of my head.  I still remember that one day a few years ago when we went out for a lovely family dinner like we do every few weeks. Of course I, being the petulant child that I sometimes am, brought up the topic of matrimony and asked my parents outright why they wanted me to have an arranged marriage. That’s right, I came straight out and asked them. Shocker, right? But I can tell you now that this was the most informative conversation I have ever had with my parents in all my 20-something years of life.

“We just want a happy life for you,” my dad explained to me. I told him that I knew this. Every father dreams of a content life for his children. “But it’s my life. I’m the one getting married, so I should decide who I marry,” I argued back. As a born and bred Canadian, the whole concept of an arranged marriage was unsettling to me.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tamilculture/arrange-marriage-decision_b_7433342.html

Women call for laws to fight forced marriage in U.S.

Mariam was a sixth-grader in Toronto when her family started pressuring her to get engaged. They sent her on a summer trip to their native Pakistan, ostensibly to study but actually to meet a fiance chosen by her aunt. When she protested after returning home, she said, her mother kept insisting and wearing her down.

Mariam, who left her family when they pressured her to marry a man in Pakistan chosen by her aunt., wrote "Caged," a digital story with autobiographical roots about forced marriage.

Mariam, who left her family when they pressured her to marry a man in Pakistan chosen by her aunt., wrote “Caged,” a digital story with autobiographical roots about forced marriage. Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post

“She cried a lot. She prayed loudly to God that I would change. She refused to speak to me for days. She told me the family’s honor was at stake,” recounted Mariam, now 20, who asked that her last name not be published. “I wanted to finish school and go to college, but at times I almost said yes, just so she would stop crying.”

Finally, when she turned 17, Mariam decided to leave home — an unthinkable act in her culture. With encouragement from a women’s rights group, she slipped out early one morning, taking a small bag. No shelter would accept her, because she had not been physically abused, and she felt wracked with guilt and loneliness. Eventually, though, she found housing, friends and a measure of emotional independence.

Today, Mariam is active in a growing movement in the United States and Canada to promote public awareness and legal protections for victims of forced marriage. She visited Washington last week as part of a nationwide tour organized by the Tahirih Justice Center, a legal aid and advocacy group in the Virginia suburbs that helps immigrant women facing abuse.

Read More: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150323/news/150329655/

How do we keep girls safe?

I am hurrying through a maze of streets in a city in Pakistan with two officials from the British High Commission in Islamabad. It’s a race against time to rescue a British girl who fears she is being forced into marriage against her will. Sana, a 19-year-old from the Midlands, was brought here by her parents, lured with the promise that she could go to university. Instead, she was physically abused when she refused to marry a man she had never met.

Sana cannot leave the house and is afraid to speak on her mobile, but she can text. Smartphone technology enables British Consul Simon Minshull and his local colleague Neelam Farooq to pinpoint the house. Taken unawares, Sana’s parents let the officials in, and Farooq immediately insists on seeing her alone, telling her father they are concerned for her welfare. Once alone, Sana tells Farooq she is desperate to leave. “She has asked for assistance and we cannot refuse that,” Farooq firmly tells her father.

Halo_Project_image Sana

Sana after being rescued from Pakistan

Now Minshull demands the girl’s British passport. While her father stalls, Farooq hustles Sana out. The family have made a phone call and more relatives are on their way. Things could turn nasty. Within minutes, Sana is in our armoured convoy and we are speeding away. A slight figure with a quiet but determined manner, she confides that she was terrified the officials would not come, or that her father would not let her go.

“The abuse was very bad,” she says, admitting she had considered suicide rather than go through a forced marriage: “I thought the easiest way out was death, hard as that is… either that or get the embassy to help.”

The dramatic rescue in Pakistan was the culmination of work by a special government team – the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) in the Foreign Office. It deals with around 1,400 cases a year but believes there may be more than 6,000. The unit has cases in 74 countries, but 42 per cent involve Pakistan, due to the large diaspora community in the UK. Last summer, forced marriage was made a criminal offence in Britain – a signal from the Government that the practice, which can lead to abuse, rape and murder, will no longer be tolerated. “Forced marriage is a government priority,” says Minshull, “and our commitment is that we will use the option of rescuing someone where we need to.”

 

 

Read More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/11368822/How-do-we-keep-girls-safe.html

FGM suspects appear in court in UK’s first genital mutilation trial

A hospital doctor carried out female genital mutilation on a young mother after the birth of her first child in a London hospital, a court has heard .

Mounting the first prosecution against someone for carrying out FGM in England and Wales, the Crown alleged that Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Whittington hospital, had mutilated a 24-year-old mother by the manner in which he had sewn her up after childbirth.

The woman had undergone type 3 FGM – in which part of the labia are sewn together – as a child in Africa, and during labour the doctor had made two cuts to her vaginal opening to ensure the safe delivery of her baby. When Dharmasena sewed her up, a midwife warned him that what he had done was illegal. He asked a consultant for advice, and the more senior doctor said it would be “painful and humiliating” to remove the stitch he had made, and it remained in place, the court heard.

“It is the stitching back together by Dr Dharmasena which the prosecution says is an offence under the act,” Kate Bex, prosecuting, told Southwark crown court.

Dharmasena, 32, is charged alongside another man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, who is accused of aiding and abetting the doctor. Both men deny the charges.

The doctor, who qualified in 2005, and began specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology in 2008, had been at the Whittington for a month when the events took place in 2012.

 

Read More: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/19/fgm-genital-mutilation-trial-uk-dharmasena

How One Woman Escaped Forced Marriage and Thrived

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it,” said Nelson Mandela. Nasreen Sheikh is, undoubtedly, one of the most courageous people I have ever met. She is a social entrepreneur living in Nepal and is subverting the typical role of a woman in her society. She is changing the lives of dozens of women in Nepal and has a goal to help hundreds more. This is Nasreen’s story.

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Nasreen Sheikh_Halo Project

At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women’s Handicrafts, based in the country’s capital of Kathmandu. The company sells bags, scarves, wallets and shirts; and only employs women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The business focuses on empowering and educating women with the intent to change the cultural and social norms in Nepal.

 

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/katie-zeppieri/forced-marriage-nepal_b_6489510.html

Founder of the Freedom Charity, Aneeta Prem, visited Leyton Sixth Form College students to discuss forced marriage

A charity founder, human rights campaigner and author has spoken to sixth form students about the dangers of forced marriage.

Aneeta Prem, leader of Freedom Charity, visited Leyton Sixth Form College on Friday to highlight the horrific treatment of some girls at the hands of their families. MP John Cryer was also in the audience.

Ms Prem’s charity Freedom believes forced marriage is a hidden problem within the UK and that the figures given by government are under-representing the problem.

She said: “Dishonour abuse looms larger than ever with female infanticide, domestic violence on the rise and forced marriage affecting young men and women.

 

Read More: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/11667854.Charity_founder_warns_students_about_forced_marriage/

Rotherham: As a Pakistani woman, I’d welcome a police force that didn’t rely on imams

Like everybody else, I read Professor Alexis Jay’s report in the systematic failure to protect young girls in Rotherham, with disbelief and anger.

It’s simply awful. But, for me, it struck a note of personal horror somewhere deep down.

You see, I’m a Pakistani woman born and raised in Scotland, as part of a Muslim family. And, at the age of 12, I relied on the help of police and local authorities to help me escape from honour abuse and the threat of forced marriage. As a result of my experiences, I now dedicate most of my spare time to raising awareness of these issues. I’m currently working to establish a free mental health service for those who have suffered similar abuses.

Victims are treated like criminals

Throughout the course of my work, I’ve come to understand a few things. If you are a rape victim, you can generally expect to be dismissed, disbelieved and made to relive your terrifying experiences in great detail in order to convince a courtroom that justice should be served on your attacker. Your behaviour and character will be dissected to deduce how irresponsible and, therefore culpable, you are.

And, after all that is over, you can expect little support in recovering from your ordeal and rebuilding your life. While some may believe that the handling of rape and sex abuse cases has become more effective in recent years, it’s now clear that this is simply not the case.

Read More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/11060663/Rotherham-As-a-Pakistani-woman-Id-welcome-a-police-force-that-didnt-rely-on-imams.html

 

The Rising Sex Traffic in Forced Islamic Marriage

In 2008, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and Nicholas Phillips, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, both suggested that the UK could consider, in Lord Phillips’s words, “embracing Sharia law” because “there is no reason why Sharia Law, or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution”. Williams commented: “it’s not as if we’re bringing in an alien and rival system”.

However, two recent widely reported cases of marriage between Muslim men and under-age girls raise troubling questions about these assumptions. One case in New South Wales where an imam married a twelve-year-old girl to a twenty-six-year-old man with her father’s consent is before the court.

In another case involving a custody battle, however, a judgment has been made that questions the way Western jurisdictions interact with sharia marriage regulations, specifically in relation to the widespread practice of conducting private, unregistered religious marriages. A Sydney Muslim girl aged fourteen was forced by her parents to become the child “bride” of a twenty-one-year-old man. Her mother had told her she would “get to attend theme parks and movies and eat lollies and ice-cream with her new husband”. Instead she endured years of sexual and physical abuse and intimidation before fleeing with her young daughter. Her story only saw the light of day ten years after her wedding when she pursued custody of her daughter through the courts.

Read More: http://www.meforum.org/3780/sex-traffic-forced-islamic-marriage

British Police Failing to Record ‘Honor’ Violence

(BBC) — One in five UK police forces is failing to properly record cases of so-called honour violence against women, according to a support group.

It said there was a “postcode lottery” when it came to recording such crimes. The report, from the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), also highlighted a lack of proper risk assessment of victims. The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said “significant progress” had been made by forces. The report follows the 2006 killing of Banaz Mahmod, who was murdered by her family because they disapproved of her boyfriend.

Since Miss Mahmod’s murder, police forces are supposed to have had a sharper focus on all honour-based crime, including beatings and death threats. But failings identified in the report included in some areas with communities in which honour-based violence is most likely to occur.

Derbyshire Constabulary, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Staffordshire Police were among those with the most significant failings, according to the report, as well as half of all Scottish police forces before they amalgamated into Police Scotland last April. Diana Nammi, executive director of IKWRO, said there may be only one chance to protect someone at risk from a so-called “honour killing”. ‘Not acceptable’

 

Read More: http://www.aina.org/news/20140206150312.htm

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