Friday, 10 June 2016

Roses, Reflections and Ramblings

First the roses in the garden are blooming and giving off their most magnificent scent.  Its the first year we have so many roses, but its not dramatic enough yet, I think they will be even fantastic come next year, but they are such natural mood enhancers that they make me smile and warm my soul.  I am hoping the weekend weather remains kind with its sunshine and dryness, as I am hoping to go to the garden centre and pick up some vegetables to put into the ground that I have weeded and dug over.

Two, early in the week I went to a conference in Cardiff 'Women Empowerment Roadshow'. It was hosted by Karma Nirvana.  Karma Nirvana support victims of forced marriages and honour based crimes.  Although Karma Nirvana is not the first organisation to address forced marriage and honour based crimes, that accolade goes to Southall Black Sister established in 1979.  South Black Sisters was a landmark organisation in British history of Black and Asian feminism.  However, it was truly humbling to listen to the founder of Karma Nirvana - Jasvinder Sanghera, who adds her voice by sharing her own personal experience, that of her sister of one which committed suicide by setting herself on fire - this was in the UK, not in a remote part of India.  She has written a memoir called 'Shame'.  
Forced marriages are often carried out by emotional blackmail.  Being of South Asian heritage myself, I am aware that 'arranged marriages' are the norm.  I have never had a problem with that, but when some of these arranged marriages became 'forced marriages' well that is something that I have never been able to accept or ignore and it had left a profound mark on me as a young woman. Well, I thought I had suppressed those feelings and left all that behind me, until I listened to Jasvinder's story and I could not hold the tears back as they slowly fell down my cheek. I was not the only one emotionally moved.  It was a bleak reminder that there is so much work to be done, hence the reason I feel strongly to share it on my blog today that often focuses on the diversity of food.  If you come across a young vulnerable person looking for support around forced marriage, you can at least signpost them to them or the Southall Black Sisters in the UK.  Many young people are not aware of these support services and raising awareness is a start.  

Three there is a charity in Wales called BAWSO.  BAWSO supports women (and men) who are affected by domestic violence and other forms of abuse, including forced marriage, human trafficking and FGM. BAWSO recently launched a campaign called #Unlock.  #Unlock forced marriage awareness campaign invited people from all backgrounds to write down their thoughts and ideas on how to end this violence.  Forced marriage does not impact on young women alone, but also vulnerable young men.  I know a few people who have accessed BAWSO services, so do not underestimate the value and the positive impact of the services they deliver and the individuals they support.
Four, BAWSO have had many campaigns and one that was quite powerful was #EndHumanTrafficking.  BAWSO cleverly devised a sale tag that you see at shops on sale products, except these were worn by individuals saying 'Humans are not for sale'.  These can still be downloaded from the website.  A very powerful message indeed. 
Wearing a label 'Human's are not for Sale'
BAWSO had another campaign called #Blog2Block Human Trafficking.  Although I am not part of it, I am more than happy to raise awareness of it it.  #Blog2Block is a blogging campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking.  Contributors come from various backgrounds, but what unites them all is the wish to highlight the reality of human trafficking as its the second largest illegal trade in the world.  

Five, I am so so relieved its Friday - after a long mentally exhausting working week at work, I do appreciate my weekends more; and look forward to doing small things. One of which is simply being in the presence of my husband of my own choosing, my best friend whom I am grateful for having in my life and for making me a better and stronger person.   Sometimes we don't do anything, we just sit in each others company.  He may be on the computer and I will be flicking through a cookbook looking for inspiration.  I am just happy being with him. 

I am sharing this blog post with  the lovely and genuine Amy who hosts Five on Fridays over at Love Made My Home


  1. Your post is more than fine, so please don't worry! It is very inspirational and very moving indeed. To be subjected to anything by force, let alone marriage must be a dreadful thing and to be forced into it by your own family is unimaginable for me so I can see why you found the talk so moving and that is what makes your post here so moving too. It is an important thing to talk about. I am glad that you and your husband are so happy together! Thank you for taking part in Five On Friday, I hope you have a great weekend! xx

  2. it is always shocking to hear of such practices as forced marriage in your own backyard, metaphorically speaking - I am not aware of it in Australia but I have a bad feeling if I looked hard enough I would find it - well done for listening and speaking about it - they sound like admirable organisations that you mention - glad you have roses to cheer you up (and D)

  3. Very nice post. The conference sounds fascinating. It is such a shame that this still goes on. Bringing it to the forefront and speaking out about it makes people more aware of it. The women/men who speak out about it are very courageous.

    I hope you have an enjoyable weekend with your husband.

  4. It is good of you to share this information with readers, Shaheen. It may save someone's life. Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Sometimes we don't know how lucky we are. I have a vase of roses from my Aunt's garden which are so scented and beautiful. :-)

  6. That certainly was a very powerful post, certainly making me aware of the plight of so many.

  7. How horrible to be forced to marry. Families often use emotional blackmail to achieve their goals. Marrying should not be forced on you. My husband is my best friend too.

  8. I too am of part Asian background and grew up the family having arranged marriages. All which I too accept. But forced marriages. Absolutely not. I'm not sure I could read Shame as I too would be too sad and yet I know it goes on here even in our doorstep. I apply as you in this blog post bringing it to the foreground to maybe people who do not realise we are not just talking about small villages in Induan but here on our doorstep too Hugs xxx

  9. It was good that you shared this post about a serious problem that exists today in our world. I only know a little as it is such a sad subject but yet needs to be addressed. My daughter worked for World Vision International for years and saw girls/women from these backgrounds who were able to seek help. I hope you are enjoying your weekend and wish you all the best. Hugs, Pat

  10. This post is very eye opening. This is not something I know a lot about as it's not something done where I grew up. We learned a bit about arranged marriages, but never gave a thought to a forced marriage. I appreciate you sharing this with us. It sounds like you are learning about great ways to empower others.


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