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