Tag: FGM

Savera UK Clients Celebrate International Women’s Day 2022

In March, Savera UK marked International Women’s Day by holding a celebratory lunch for our amazing clients, who continually overcome hurdles in the face of adversity and are testament themselves of how we can #BreakTheBias caused by gender inequality.

Savera UK clients include both those at risk of, and survivors of, ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices. These practices are violations of human rights and are borne from deep-seated patriarchal ideologies which oppress women.

While Savera UK supports people of all genders, the majority of our clients are women, which is why it’s important for us to celebrate International Women’s Day and the strides that continue to be made to eliminate harmful practices and gender-based abuse.

To celebrate the day, Savera UK brought together the women we support for a Middle Eastern banquet where we celebrated their strengths, while looking towards a brighter future for all women.

Savera UK clients enjoyed a delicious feast at the International Women’s Day celebration

Speaking about  the lunch, one Savera UK client said: “I enjoyed that I was able to meet together with other women who are from diverse backgrounds and to watch how they felt happy with the gathering.” She also added: “I felt honoured for being valued on that day.”

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “It is important to remember how fantastic women are and to celebrate our strengths on a day like International Women’s Day.

“It counters the narrative that many of our clients have been led to believe within their communities, which can hold misogynistic and harmful attitudes towards women. It is great to help them build their confidence and see their strengths that have often been overlooked or even shamed.”

Describing the atmosphere at the lunch, Emma said: “it felt like a celebration, it was lovely, united and positive” adding that it was “very rewarding to be able to offer some normality” and “made all the preparation worth it”.

Unfortunately social work student Taylor, who helped organise the event was unable to attend, but we would like to thank her for her work in bringing together the event.

Student Spotlight: Taylor and Jackie, Social Work Students

Savera UK regularly welcomes student placements so they can learn about what we do, how our team operates and the work involved in advocating for those at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices.

This year we welcomed Taylor and Jackie to the team, who both began social work placements. Taylor is already half-way through her placement while Jackie has only recently joined. We’re delighted to have you both on board and wish you the best of luck with your placements.

Taylor and Jackie share with us the reasons behind choosing to study social work (and children’s nursing, in Taylor’s case) and tell us a little bit about themselves.

Tell us about yourself!

Jackie: I’m originally from a small village in between Sheffield and Chesterfield (it’s a lot easier to say from near Sheffield though!). As well as studying my Masters, I also work in Domiciliary Care and love it! I enjoy the football too and work at Anfield and Goodison on match days as well as going to watch it.

I love animals and my favourite animals are pandas. I have a big collection of them and it seems to be getting bigger by the week. I’m very outdoorsy and love going to new places and travelling. I have a passion for doing charity work and raising money for different charities and organisations. Before the pandemic, I did a sponsored skydive for Western Park Cancer Charity and raised over £1,000. I’m hoping to be able to join more charities like this now Covid has settled down and jump out of my comfort zone some more.

Taylor: I’m a 23-year-old student, I love music. I love going to music concerts and being in that atmosphere. I have a big family so I enjoy doing activities with them such as bowling, the cinema and fun days out.

Why did you choose to study your course?

Jackie: I never knew what to do and what I wanted to study to be honest. I studied Drama and Special Educational Needs for my undergraduate degree which stemmed from studying Drama, English Literature and Philosophy and Ethics at A-Level where I wanted to be a Dramatherapist.

However, looking after my dad when he became terminally ill had a big influence on what I wanted to do. After reading up on social work and having the chance to be an influencing factor in making a change in people’s lives, I knew that was the thing I felt was missing in deciding what I wanted to do which is why I chose to study my course.

Taylor: I did hairdressing after I left school. After two years I decided I wanted to do something different, so I decided I wanted to be a Nurse. I was accepted on a course which allowed me to explore both professions of a nurse and a social worker. With this [Savera UK] being my first social work placement, I have really enjoyed seeing the role of a Social worker in action. My course will allow me to gain a career where I am able to work as an integrated professional and help individuals holistically.

What will your role be at Savera UK?

Jackie: My role at Savera UK as a student on placement will essentially be getting involved in what the support team do, including making referrals, attending meetings, providing support to clients and observing the team’s day-to-day work.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Jackie: I’m looking most forward to getting stuck in and being able to apply what we’ve been taught in university into practice. I’m looking forward to seeing how things operate and how to look at cases and work on and with them.

What do you hope to bring to the team during your placement?

Jackie: During my placement, I hope to bring my energy and personality to the team as well as some of my thoughts and input on things.

Taylor, how are you finding your placement at Savera UK now you are half-way through?

Taylor: I am glad that I got a placement as amazing at this, the staff at the organisation are phenomenal at their jobs. This given me an opportunity to learn about ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices. Speaking to my peers and seeing professionals working alongside Savera UK it’s clear not everyone is aware of HBA.

Before beginning your placement, what did you hope to learn?

Taylor: I like learning new things and developing my knowledge which is what I hoped to get from Savera UK. I have learnt so much already only being half way through my placement. I like to believe I am a quick learner when I have been shown what to do, which I hoped would help me during my time here. I didn’t have an expectation of what I was going to learn as I wasn’t aware of the work Savera UK did but I am pleased to say I have learnt so much.

What have you learnt already?

Taylor: While being at Savera UK I have been able to participate or complete a number of tasks and undertake training sessions which have developed my skills and knowledge about culture, sexual abuse and children’s sexual exploitation. I have referred clients for different types of support such as completing MARACs and referring clients to councillors. I have written supporting letters for clients to support asylum or to continue their studies. I have also been able to see professional strategy meetings and uploaded client information from police and other professional referrals.

What do you hope to learn as you continue your placement?

Jackie: I’m hoping to develop my skills as a social worker and increase my knowledge on things that I may not be too sure about.

Taylor: I feel this placement will allow me to spot signs of HBA and harmful practices while I get further in my career and educate others on my knowledge around HBA.

Thank you Jackie and Taylor! We’re so pleased to have you both as part of the Savera UK team.

International Women’s Day 2022: Help #BreakTheBias with Savera UK

Today (Tuesday 8th March 2022) is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme, #BreakTheBias, calls on people globally to strive for a “gender equal world” that is “free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination” and where “difference is valued and celebrated”.

This year’s theme resonates closely with Savera UK’s organisational mission. We are a leading charity tackling culturally-specific abuse such as ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and other harmful pratices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. All of these issues are rooted in societies based on patriarchal ideologies and at their heart lies gender inequality.

Although anyone can be at risk of harmful practices – and Savera UK supports survivors of all genders – it is important to highlight on International Women’s Day the majority of people that we support are women. Those at risk of harmful practices face bias and discrimination in their own homes and communities and even in finding and accessing services, due to a lack of understanding around culturally-specific abuse, which often means the signs can be missed.

This International Women’s Day, the team at Savera UK pledges to continue to #BreakTheBias by raising awareness of the issues, challenging harmful stereotypes around these issues and supporting and advocating for survivors and those at risk of harmful practices.

We still have a long way to go to tackle gender inequality and as long as gender inequality exists, so too will gender-based violence and abuse. If we work together to eradicate this, more women will be free to exercise their human rights, and have the opportunity to thrive and achieve their full potential.

For more information on International Women’s Day visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

To find out how you can get involved in Savera UK’s work, visit: https://www.saverauk.co.uk/what-can-you-do/get-involved/ 

Savera UK Youth #ENDFGM Exhibition 2022

Savera UK Youth exhibition calls for end to female genital mutilation (FGM)

Savera UK Youth #ENDFGM Exhibition 2022

An exhibition of multimedia artworks created by a group of young people campaigning to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), has opened in Liverpool to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM (6th February).

Savera UK Youth created artwork and photography to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which was first launched at a conference in London held by the National FGM Centre. After speaking with survivors of female genital mutilation and learning more about the practice from Savera UK, the young people then worked with artist Joanne Tremarco and photographer Andrew ‘AB’ Abrahamson to learn valuable image-making and photography skills through a series of workshops.

In these workshops the young people learned how to translate what they had heard into powerful imagery, through sessions with Joanne making collage, assemblage and animation. Then, using the practical skills and knowledge about the rules of photography shared by AB, they took disposable cameras away to interpret their understanding of FGM through photography.  These photographs, which can be seen on display as a stand alone series, approach the subject matter from a more abstract and emotional point of view,  informing the staged SLR photographs that carry a more explicit #EndFGM message.

Following further workshops with artist Joanne and survivor Kiara Mohamed, who is a poet, the young people created poems, song and text related to FGM, in response to what they had learned from the survivor stories and from Savera UK. The young people also learned important skills about showcasing their work, such as how to hang an exhibition and how to write about their artwork to communicate its meaning as well as skills in performance and presentation.

The works seek to educate people about FGM and challenge harmful traditions that violate human rights, while separating it from culture and religious practice, with which is it often wrongly conflated.

The exhibition will run from Friday 4th – Sunday 27th February 2022, in the ‘Make Space’ exhibition space at the International Slavery Museum, located on the 3rd Floor.

Hannah Gloudon from Savera UK Youth, said: “We are so excited to finally be exhibiting our work, which was originally created in 2019 and was due to be exhibited in 2020.

“The pandemic saw schools close and leave many vulnerable young people at risk of FGM. Last year, UNICEF stated that 2 million additional cases of female genital mutilation likely to occur over next decade due to COVID-19*

“It has never been more vital for us to speak out against FGM and empower our peers to do the same. Education is key to meeting our aim of being the generation that eradicates harmful practices like FGM and we hope that our #EndFGM exhibition raises awareness and encourages other people to join us in speaking out.”

Lois South, Education Demonstrator at the International Slavery Museum, added: “The work that Savera UK does is so incredibly important, and it is an honour to work with them to highlight and raise awareness about FGM and other harmful practices.

“The art that members of Savera UK Youth have created is beautiful, emotive and  powerful, and we hope that through this exhibition, we can collectively shine a spotlight on what is often a misunderstood subject.

“As a museum, our mission is not only to raise awareness about transatlantic, chattel and other forms of enslavement, but we are also a campaigning museum that actively engages with contemporary human rights issues.

“We hope through this exhibition we can make a difference and educate people about this sensitive yet important issue.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “FGM has no place in today’s society. Not only is it illegal, it’s life-threatening, and it leaves young victims in agony facing long-term physical and psychological challenges.

“Raising awareness of the risks and signs of FGM within our communities, and among key agencies and professionals, is vital if we are to protect girls from harm. I welcome the launch of this innovative exhibition curated by Savera UK Youth which aims to educate people about the impact of FGM and encourages them to speak out.

“While FGM is a deeply sensitive subject, there are no cultural, religious or medical reasons that can ever justify a practice that causes so much suffering. We need everyone to understand FGM is child abuse, it’s illegal and it must be eradicated.”

While FGM and other harmful practices, such as ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage remain ‘hidden’ crimes that often go unreported, Merseyside Police saw an increase of almost 56 per cent in reports of ‘honour’-based abuse in 2021.

The force works closely with Savera UK Youth’s parent organisation, Savera UK, a leading charity tackling culturally-specific abuse such as HBA, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), by providing life-saving support to survivors and those at risk and campaigning to eradicate the practice for good.

Merseyside Police lead for Protecting Vulnerable Persons, Detective Superintendent Steve Reardon, said: “Statistics from Merseyside Police show that in 2021, 54 incidents of ‘honour’-based abuse were reported to the force, which is an increase of 24 on the 12 months to March 2021. Considerably fewer incidents of Forced Marriage and FGM were reported, indicating that under-reporting of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices remains an issue in the region.

“There are currently 24 FGM Protection Orders in place in Merseyside, protecting 27 girls, and 36 Forced Marriage Protection Orders, protecting 66 people. While these figures provide part of the picture locally, the true number of those at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse is not known due to the hidden nature of these crimes.

“We appeal to anyone who has been a victim of ‘honour’-based abuse to contact police. You will be supported with sensitivity by specialist officers, and we will help you to receive the support of the dedicated team at Savera UK.”

For help and support you can contact the Savera UK helpline on 0800 107 0726 (9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday), you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or if you or someone you know is at immediate risk, call 999.

*Source: UNICEF https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/2-million-additional-cases-femalegenital-mutilation-likely-occur-over-next-decade

Help us fund safe therapies

Help survivors of ‘honour-based abuse access safe therapies

Help us fund safe therapies
Help us fund safe therapies for Savera UK clients

At Savera UK we are committed to ensuring we provide the best possible support to survivors of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices.

We provide a safe environment for those at risk of these practices regardless of their age, gender, sexuality or culture. Anyone can be affected by HBA, which is abuse perpetrated in the name of so-called ‘honour’. The abuse carried out can range from isolating/imprisoning an individual and ostracising them from a community to being killed, or what is known as a so-called ‘honour’ killing.

The people who are at risk of HBA and other culturally specific harmful practices may be vulnerable as a result and in need of specialist support from professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the issues and the effect they can have on survivors.

At Savera UK our clients are at the forefront of all our work, and when seeking donations we want to make sure the money is being used in a way that addresses the needs of survivors and helps them process their experiences.

That is why we’re asking for your help.

We continue to improve our services based on feedback from our clients, who have expressed a wish for us to expand the emotional support we offer by providing therapies and working with specialist therapist professionals who have a good understanding of HBA, forced marriage, FGM and other harmful practices.

Savera UK wants to provide clients with services that actively work to ensure cultural sensitivity and demonstrate an understanding of the issues our clients may be facing. These specialist therapies will involve modern and alternative therapies including art, drama and music, which have been proven to help clients explore difficult memories. Importantly these types of therapies often don’t require a lot of talking, meaning those clients who do not speak English as a first language are easily able to engage.

These therapy sessions will be focused on trauma and attachment, with a particular focus on the relationships between parents and children which can become negatively impacted by harmful practices. We hope to aid the rebuilding of relationships that have been affected by these practices during Theraplay sessions. Theraplay is a form of therapy that involves the parent and child being guided to form positive attachments through patterns of playful, healthy interaction.

We can’t provide these supportive therapies to our clients without your help.

To be able to conduct these sessions for clients with professional therapists, we need to raise £1,500, which will then be matched by the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund.

Donate to the fundraiser here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/saverauk01

Please note, this fundraiser closes on 15th December

Resources on gender-based violence2

Resources to educate yourself on gender-based violence

Resources on gender-based violence2

As part of Orange The World 2021, Savera UK is joining forces with Zonta Club London for 16 days of activism.

From Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December, we’re #SpeakingOut against domestic violence, rape and harassment, as well as hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

We want to rally people to take action to ensure our towns, cities and homes are safe spaces where everyone can live without fear of violence, abuse or harassment. There is no excuse for abuse.

Throughout the 16 days, we’ll be using themes to represent ways in which we can all become better activists, and on Day 13 we’re encouraging you to discuss important resources with your community.

To help aid these discussions, Savera UK and Zonta Club London have included a list of great resources you can start with below.

The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts

This memoir was written by multi-award-winning journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts, whose career spanned four decades. Each chapter explores the lives of women living in different and the atrocities they face. In the book Sue, who died shortly after writing it, explores Ireland, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, covering topics including FGM and forced marriage.

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I found it a really useful snapshot into how far women have come but more importantly, the journey many countries and communities need to make. It was very well-written, easy to follow and gave a good brief insight into different ways women are oppressed.”

The Prosecutor by Nazir Afzal

Nazir Afzal OBE
The Prosecutor by Savera UK Patron Nazir Afzal OBE explores the inner workings of the criminal justice system

This book by Savera UK patron Nazir Afzal OBE offers readers a look into the workings of the criminal justice system and his experience of prosecuting complex and harrowing cases. Nazir is the former Chief Prosecutor for North West England and an expert in de-radicalisation. He campaigns on issues around child sexual exploitation and gender-based violence. His book is described as a “searing insight into the justice system and a powerful story of one man’s pursuit of the truth”.

On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose

Another recommendation from Zonta Club London is On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose which asks ‘Why has violence, and especially gender-based violence become so much more prominent and visible across the world?’ The book tracks the multiple forms of today’s violence – historic and intimate, public and private – as they spread throughout our social fabric, offering a new, provocative account of violence in our time.

See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill

Dianne from Zonta Club London also recommends picking up this book by investigative journalist Jess Hill, who is seeking to change the question from ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ to ‘Why does he do it?’ In the book, she unpacks power, control and domestic violence while putting perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse in the spotlight.

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

Gypsy Boy is a memoir by Mikey Walsh, who grew up in the culture of Romany Gypsies. This book, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, explores gender roles and expectations and ‘honour’-based abuse. It also covers the perception of sexuality being detrimental to one’s ‘honour’.

‘The Community Safety Podcast’ by Jim Nixon

In this podcast host Jim Nixon, a community safety professional and former police officer, interviews various guests and discusses ways in which communities can be made safer. In one episode, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, he speaks with Caroline Goode, a former Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police who worked on the investigation into the ‘honour’-killing of Banaz Mahmod.

In the episode, which lasts for one hour and a half, Caroline discusses the police failures in the case and what efforts she personally made to see justice brought.

‘Honour’ ITV Programme

This two-part series portrays the investigation into the murder of Banaz Mahmod, who was the victim of an ‘honour’-killing. Keeley Hawes plays DCI Caroline Goode (mentioned above) and the series offers an insight into the complex nature of ‘honour’ killings. You can watch this on ITV Hub here.

Payzee Mahmod discusses her own experience of child marriage in a moving TED Talk

‘A Survivor’s Plea to End Child Marriage’ by Payzee Mahmod

Sister of ‘honour’-killing victim Banaz Mahmod and Savera UK Ambassador, Payzee Mahmod delivers a powerful TED talk in which she explains her own experience of child marriage at the age of just 16.

Payzee details the tragic marriage, which prompted her to self-harm, and her small acts of rebellion in efforts to escape before her divorce at the age of 18, which she underwent while arranging her sister’s funeral.

You can watch the TED Talk in full here.

‘Unorthodox’ Netflix Miniseries

Unorthodox is a series on Netflix which examines the intricacies of forced marriage and gender roles in the Hasidic Jewish community through the eyes of an Orthodox Jewish woman who flees to start a new life abroad.

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I think this is very important because it shows HBA in a community that most people wouldn’t affiliate it with so it offers a counter-narrative.

“I find counter-narratives important to prevent prejudice and racist narratives as people often associate HBA with specific cultures when it actually transcends many different communities in different ways.”

‘Empower a girl, transform a community’ by Kakenya Ntaiya

This TED talk sees Kakenya discuss her work empowering vulnerable girls to bring an end to harmful traditional practices in Kenya. You can watch the talk in full here.

‘End Violence against children for a better future for us all’ by Howard Taylor

In this 10 minute TED Talk Howard Taylor discusses the huge numbers of children who experience violence at home, at school, online or in their communities. Taylor talks about why we have an unprecedented opportunity to end this violence and create a better future for every child. Watch the TED talk here.

Works by Jasvinder Sanghera

Both Savera UK and Zonta Club London recommend taking a look at various pieces of work by Jasvinder Sanghera, an ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage survivor and campaigner.

The first is Shame, a true story in which Jasvinder, founder of charity Karma Nirvana, explains her experience of ‘honour’-based abuse. When she was fourteen her parents told her she would be married and when she refused they disowned her. This autobiography is the story of what happened after she ran away from home to escape from a world where ‘honour’ was paramount.

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “It’s interesting because the perpetrator is her mother so it offers a narrative that many people wouldn’t expect.”

Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London also recommends Jasvinder’s works Daughters of Shame and Shame Travels.  Jasvinder’s charity, Karma Nirvana, works to fight HBA and has helped establish refuge centres for South Asian men and women fleeing forced marriages. To learn more about the work Jasvinder does you can watch her TED Talk on “Fighting forced marriages and ‘honour’-based abuse” by clicking here.

We would love to hear the resources you have come across, send them to @SaveraUK on social media and we may include them here.