July was an eventful month, with JAN Trust attending a number of high profile events as well as maintaining a presence in the media, including a story of our work with a perpetrator and her eventual reformation. This was featured in the Evening Standard, she is repentant over her actions stating “I look back on this time, and I feel devastated that I did this for ‘honour’. I feel very guilty. Nobody should do it. The best thing we did was break away from this forced marriage”. She also reiterated the need for more education in these close knit communities and felt the new law criminalising forced marriage she added “No, they would never come forward. No one will say, ‘I am going to be taken,’ because they won’t want their parents in prison”. For full article see http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/rosamund-urwin-brutal-control-can-never-be-called-honour-9611576.html.
In terms of our work ‘Against Forced Marriages’, we were approached by the Evening Standard to feature an article with a perpetrator of a forced marriage and our work with her. The story highlighted the inner workings of forced marriages, including what drives families to enforce this practice with such vehemence and their motivations for doing so. But also it demonstrated the immense power of education and engaging with perpetrators to help them recognise the malicious nature of forcing someone to marry against their will. The article bought to light the extent and depth of honour based violence (HBV), an umbrella term that describes practices enforced upon individuals to uphold family ‘honour’ such as forced marriages. The article stressed the importance of campaigning against all forms of HBV and the role of our award winning Against Forced Marriage campaign plays in this fight in terms of offering education to communities and culturally sensitive support for victims which can have a wide ranging impact.
JAN Trust attended the Girl Summit on July 22nd 2014; the aim of the event was to muster support domestically and internationally to end merciless practices of FGM and forced marriages involving children. It was a thought-provoking gathering with cross fertilisation of ideas, culminating in JAN Trust feeding into a government consultation on FGM which seeks to measure practitioner’s judgment on the potential introduction of a civil law route for prevention. This would be the equivalent of the current Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO’s), instead the model would be applied to FGM. Unfortunately, the take up rate for FMPO’s has not been as high as some anticipated, there are concerns orders to thwart FGM may prove similarly unsuccessful. However, we acknowledge a civil route offers a measure of reassurance victims may find lacking in the criminal process as many are intimidated to pursue the latter route.
Additionally, we continue to offer and provide training across London and the UK through our ‘Against Forced Marriage’ Campaign. JAN Trust will continue to work with practitioners including the police where we have found there is more work to be done in terms of altering perceptions, in light of this our education and outreach work is more vital than ever.
JAN Trust has consistently been at the forefront of the campaign to end honour based violence especially forced marriages. We seek to provide holistic and culturally appropriate support for those affected by forced marriage and work with ‘at risk’ demographic groups such as those under 18. There is much more work to be done and we strive to continue despite the challenges and request your support be it through devoting your time to volunteer for us, fundraise, donate or contact us to attend trainings.
We provide support and guidance in Urdu, Hindi, Gujrati, Punjabi and English. If you have any concerns, please call us on 0800 141 2994 between 10.30 and 16.30, Monday and Thursday. Alternatively you can email us on email@example.com or visit our website http://againstforcedmarriages.org/ where you will find an array of resources.