- Theresa May MPHome Secretary
Honour their memories, dishonour the crime by giving us a day of memory to remember all those victims of Honour Based Violence
Next week, Prime Minister David Cameron is holding the first ever Girl Summit looking at the issues of female genital mutilation and forced and early marriage. This is a chance for us to show the Government just how important it is to remember the girls and women who have lost their lives to honour-based abuse. While forced marriage recently became illegal in England and Wales and punishable by up to seven years in prison, thousands of women are still being beaten, abused and raped in the name of so-called "honour" – some tragically lose their lives.
As the founder of Karma Nirvana, an organisation that speaks out and supports those who have experienced honour based violence in the UK, I have seen the true horror of being perceived to have brought 'shame' on my family. Thousands of women and men are currently being beaten, abused and raped in the name of honour – for some, on a daily basis.
The story of Shafilea Ahmed should have been a wakeup call for us all to act. Shafilea was brutally murdered by both her parents in 2003 in the presence of her siblings because she was deemed to have become too ‘westernised’. Shafilea was regularly abused and then murdered for being a 'normal teenager' and embracing all that Britain stands for - freedom, independence, democracy and the right to choose whom she wished to marry.
Despite her parents being initially arrested after her death, it took nine years for them to be found guilty and sentenced.
Over 96,000 people have called upon the Prime Minister to mark a day of remembrance for victims like Shafilea who are essentially erased from history by their families.
That's why I am calling on the Home Secretary to speak out and commit to a day of memory for these victims. Theresa May MP leads the way to ending all violence against women and girls – we need her support. We need to protect and remember these brave, honourable women and dishonour this abuse.
Between 2008 and 2013, Karma Nirvana's helpline received over 30,000 calls in the UK alone. Today we deal with over 750 calls a month – all with an experience of honour-related abuse.
This remains the 'tip of the iceberg' and a lack of awareness by professionals can and does increase the risk. A day of memory will not only raise awareness but leave a lasting legacy.
Please join me in seeking the support of government and achieving a day of remembrance for the victims I see every day, victims like Shafilea Ahmed.
Anyone seeking help should contact www.karmanirvana.org.uk or 0800 5999 247
Read more about the campaign at www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/britainslostwomen
- Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party
Theresa May MP
- Home Secretary
Theresa May MP
Honour their memories, dishonour the crime by giving us a day of memory to remember all those victims of Honour Based Violence.
I'm supporting Karma Nirvana's call for a day to remember the women who lost their lives to honour-based violence.
The introduction of such a day would show that you are serious about tackling the problem of honour-based violence here in the UK and raise awareness of honour issues such as forced marriage.
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