Savera UK founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, said: “On Friday we moved one step closer to ending child marriage in England and Wales.
“The Bill will not only raise the minimum age of marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales from 16 to 18, but it will also criminalise all marriages involving a child, including religious marriages which are not formally registered.
“We celebrate and welcome these life-saving and transformative changes, which will help organisations like Savera UK hold perpetrators of these practices to account, support survivors and give them back the opportunities and choices that child marriage often cruelly strips from them.
“Along with Karma Nirvana, IKWRO and campaigners like our survivor ambassador Payzee Mahmod, we will continue to support and advocate for those at risk of child marriage and work to eradicate the practice globally.”
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
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.
‘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.
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.