Honour-based violence: in need of a stronger institutional response

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Did you know that 5,000 individuals are killed around the world every year in honour killings? Honour-based violence (HBV) is a persistent international issue defined as a crime or incident committed to protect the so-called honour of the family or community. The concept of ‘honour’ has an important meaning for certain communities, and when a woman does not behave as expected she is accused of bringing shame to the family by her immoral acts. However, killing in the name of honour is just the most severe form of HBV, but this practice can be suffered in a lot of different ways, including forced marriages, kidnappings, assaults, and imprisonments. Most of the victims of HBV are women and girls, being those aged  25 or under at further risk.

While this practice is most common in South Asia and the Middle East, there is evidence that HBV is also a major problem in the UK. Official statistics show that around 12 people are killed each year as a result of HBV in the UK, with around 11,000 honour crimes recorded between 2010 and 2014. Although this data is already terrifying and unacceptable, the real scale of the problem may be underestimated in the official records. This is because many women suffering from HBV do not report these crimes due to fear, threats, or emotional and economic dependency on the aggressor. Moreover, the criminal justice system and other institutions, such as the police, do not make it easier for the victims due to a lack of preparation and knowledge on the issue.    

One case of bad institutional handling of HBV that may ring a bell with  you is the one that led to the murder of Banaz Mahmod in January 2006. Mahmod was an Iraqi Kurdish woman who moved to England at the age of 10. She was murdered by her family for escaping a forced marriage to a man who abused her and for later being with a partner of her choice. What is scandalous about this case is not only her brutal murder, but that Banaz did report to the police on several times fearing for her life, but her testimony was not taken seriously and was dismissed as fantasy.

Although the case of Mahmod was supposed to set a precedent in the handling of HBV violence by the authorities, honour killings have continued in the UK and formal institutions are still unprepared to understand and deal with HBV. In fact, although there are numerous reports to the police of HBV violence every year in the UK, only a minority of these reported incidents results in charges. It is imperative that measures are taken in order to protect the victims of HBV and to prevent these practices from happening.   

Honour killings and HBV are atrocious acts, contrary to British law, that must be introduced in the political debate to take strong actions against its persistence. JAN Trust has been working on this issue for almost 30 years, involved at the grassroots level with local communities to raise awareness against this phenomenon and its awful consequences, as well as providing advice and guidance to women suffering from HBV. We also provide training on HBV for agencies across London and the UK. If you wish to arrange a training session please contact us on info@jantrust.org.  

If you want to know more about the work we do, visit our website www.jantrust.org

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Posted in Campaign, Campaigning, Crime, International, International Affairs, JAN Trust, Society, Uncategorized, Violence, Violence Against Women, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Women against the extreme right in Brazil – the importance of global feminist movements

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On the 29th of September, tens of thousands of women gathered in what has been recognised as the biggest women’s demonstration of Brazil’s history. These women took the streets under the slogan #EleNão (#NotHim) to protest against Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right presidential candidate known for his sexist, racist and homophobic comments. Protests took place in 70 Brazilian cities and about ten foreign localities, encouraging between 100,000 and almost a million participants in São Paulo and between 50,000 and 500,000 in Rio de Janeiro to participate (estimates vary depending on sources).

This Sunday, Jair Bolsonaro, far-right candidate of Brazil’s Social Liberal Party, is facing Fernando Haddad on the decisive second round of Brazil presidential elections. He won the first round on the 7th of October with a 47% of the votes, and all the polls are pointing at him as a winner for the second round as well. Bolsonaro has stated numerous misogynist, homophobic and racist statements, comparing same-sex marriage to paedophilia and calling all immigrants “scum”. He also once told Congresswoman Mario do Rosario that she “did not deserve” to be raped because she was ugly, and has stated that he is not against women receiving lower salaries than men for the same job if they become pregnant.

Tension and violent acts started to increase in Brazil even before the first round elections were held. Numerous physical and verbal attacks, inspired by the candidate’s hate speech were reported to the authorities in the months previous to the elections. Among them, particularly notable and terrifying was the case of a woman assaulted for wearing an “Ele Não” t-shirt, by three men who drew a swastika in her stomach with a knife.

Fear about the spread of these kind of actions and an increase of crimes motivated by prejudices, together with the need to stand for women and minorities’ rights, were the reasons that encouraged Brazilian women to get together and organise against the far-right candidate in the Women United Against Bolsonaro Movement. It all started with a Facebook page, created on August 30th, with the aim of uniting Brazilian women against sexism, racism and other types of prejudices represented by Bolsonaro. The page has now more than four million members and was the principal tool to prepare the massive protests held during the last months in the country against the candidate and the antidemocratic ideas that he represents.  

Even though this movement has proved that Brazilian women are strong, empowered and highly organised, what is really new about it is that it has been amplified through social media, as Brazilian women have been organising and fighting for their rights for decades. In fact, this movement draws on years of Brazilian women’s mobilisation, fighting for social causes and human rights in the country. Black women in Brazil have continuously worked and campaigned for the right to land and decent working and living conditions for their families and communities. It is a reality, then, that even though sexism, racism and prejudice might win Brazil’s 2018 elections this Sunday, the strength and power of the Brazilian feminist movement cannot be stopped.

Brazil is just one among the many examples of feminist causes that have caught the international attention and support from feminist movements around the world. Very notorious was also the recent case of Brett Kavanaugh, allegedly accused of sexual misconduct, which gathered women around the world standing together against sexual violence. These feminist movements have been growing in the past few years, creating a strong international network of women fighting together against sexism, whose importance in the international sphere has proved to be fundamental for the progression towards women’s rights. 

At JAN Trust, we stand against discourses that promote prejudices and stereotypes and harm minority communities. Our organisation wants to highlight the importance of having political leaders that encourage respect and tolerance as key values to our societies. As a women’s charity, we stand in solidarity with women and minorities in Brazil and around the world and we campaign against the spread of hate speech and violent acts based on prejudices.

If you want to know more about what we do, visit our website www.jantrust.org.

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Hate crime under review – why misandry should not be included under the hate crime legislation

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‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’

 – Margaret Atwood

Last month, a campaign was started to include misogyny, that is, prejudice against women, as a form of hate crime. The petition was initiated by MP Stella Creasy, who argued that the levels of harassment women and girls suffer on a daily basis called for the inclusion of such acts under the hate crime legislation. This led to the announcement, later that month, of a wide-ranging review to be taken by the Law Commission, which would analyse comprehensively the legislation surrounding hate crimes. The review will consider introducing misogyny as a form of hate crime but, to the surprise of many, the Commission has also accepted considering the inclusion of misandry, that is, prejudice against men, under such legislation.

Officials have stated that the request to consider whether offences driven by misandry should be treated as hate crimes comes in response to what the public wants, in order to “not prioritise one area over another”. However, equating acts of misogyny to those suffered because of hostility towards men presents a number of problems. First of all, it means forgetting that gender relations operate in a hierarchical way, one that situates one group, men, at the top, and the other, women, at the bottom. While women have been suffering for centuries due to this injustice, men cannot say the same thing. All this means that violence and hostility towards women operates within a well-documented historical and systematic context, while misandry does not; is not an issue of systematic oppression and does not impede the daily lives of men. Making misandry a hate crime doesn’t address an imbalance, because we live in a patriarchal society where men have the majority of the power.

An argument frequently used by the supporters of treating misandry as a hate crime is that violence should always be condemned because abuse has no gender. However, it appears that the numbers disagree with such a statement, and they show that abuse is, indeed, deeply gendered. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Crime Survey for England and Wales, in the year to March 2017, 78% of the perpetrators of violent crime were men. Moreover, the ONS shows how the majority of the victims of sexual offences are women, while the vast majority of perpetrators are men. This data proves that the level of harassment and violence suffered by women cannot be compared to that experienced by men. That is not to say that attacks suffered by men should not be equally condemned, but that they are not motivated by the fact they are men.

It is important when discussing hate crime to consider the motivation of such offenses, but also the consequences of those acts in the long term. Hate crimes are considered aggravating offences by law and, as such, they attract higher prison sentences than crimes not motivated by hate. One important reason to explain this is that hate crimes do not only affect the individual victim, but they also spread fear among the whole community to which the victim belongs. Since we are born, women are told not to talk to strangers, not to walk alone at night, or drink too much to avoid being attacked by men. These acts influence the whole way we socialise and live our lives; for example, when a woman in our neighbourhood is attacked, we develop different strategies and precautions as a result of fear from that happening to us too. When a man is attacked because of hostility towards his gender, he might feel angry or embarrassed, but there is not a movement of men taking precautions because of fear of misandry.

Men can get assaulted, harassed in public and violently attacked, and these actions should be condemned and persecuted. That said, attacks are overwhelmingly perpetrated by other men, and this can never be equated to the violence and harassment women as a group have been suffering for centuries as a result of oppressing social hierarchies and the perception of women as inferior and/or sexual objects. The same measures should not be applied to “protect” a privileged group in the same way as an oppressed group. Misogyny should be considered a hate crime because of the high volumes of sexual assaults, street harassment and sexist discrimination women face, which happen because they are women, and which can have  deeply disturbing consequences throughout their lives. Misandry, on the other hand, should not be treated as a form of hate crime because, as opposed to women, men and boys are not systematically oppressed because of their gender.

At JAN Trust, we believe that strong actions need to be taken to end the excessively high levels of violence, assault and harassment that women suffer on a daily basis just because they are women. As such, we welcome the introduction of misogyny as a form of hate crime as a way to reduce the offences motivated by hostility towards women. At our centre, we work to empower marginalised women through the development of different skills, in order to increase their self-confidence and become independent and integrated members of society. If you want to know more about what we do, visit our website www.jantrust.org.

Posted in Active citizenship, Advocacy, Campaigning, child marriage, discrimination, Diversity, girls, JAN Trust, National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Uncategorized, Violence, Violence Against Women, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Misogyny to be considered a hate crime – what is your opinion?

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Misogyny could start being considered a hate crime, as authorities have announced a wide-raging review of the current legislation on this topic. If you did not already know, hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are, and they are penalised under British law. In 2017-2018, there were 94,098 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, which supposed an increase of 17% compared with the previous year, continuing with the upward trend since 2012. Right now, hate crimes include those motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity. However, this could start to change once the review initiated by the authorities is concluded.

It all started when the Labour MP Stella Creasy put forward an amendment to the upskirting bill, debated last September in Parliament, in order to add misogyny as an aggravating factor in England and Wales. This means that courts would have been able to consider misogyny as a motivator, and police forces would have started to record these offences. This was seen by the MP and many supporters as a first step to start considering misogyny as a hate crime. In fact, previous research, based on a two-year testing system by Nottinghamshire Police, which became the first force in the UK to record public harassment of women, revealed that there existed an overwhelming public support for the policy.

However, the MP agreed to withdraw her amendment when the government announced a comprehensive and fully funded review, with a much wider scope, of hate crime legislation. This review will consider whether to include misogyny as a hate crime. The campaigners received this news as an amazing victory for women and against sexist attitudes. However, the review will not only consider introducing prejudice against women as a motivating factor for hate crimes, as many other categories are also being analysed. Hatred offences towards goths and elderly people could also start being penalised under hate crime law. But, what is interesting (or controversial), is that misandry, that is, prejudice against men, could also start being included in such legislation. Situating misandry as a category of hate crime, together with victims from marginalised groups, has caused a lot of controversy, but this is a topic which demands a blog post of its own to be discussed in further detail.

Harassment of women and girls in public spaces is an endemic practice, proved by researchers from Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities, who found that 93.7% of the women they interviewed had either experienced or witnessed it. Moreover, according to the ONS, more than 443,000 women in England and Wales experienced at least one sexual assault in the year to March 2017, and around 144,000 had experienced rape or an attempted rape assault.

These numbers are terrifying and prove the need to include misogyny under the hate crime legislation. Women deserve the freedom to be able to walk in the street without being catcalled, insulted or assaulted by men just for being women. Women deserve a world free of sexist violence, a world where we do not need to be brave when walking home alone at night, but where we can feel free.

At JAN Trust, we work to make this world possible, standing together and campaigning against misogyny and hate crime. We have been working for almost thirty years to raise awareness and prevent hate crime, especially against refugee, asylum-seeking and Muslim women. We also offer classes and workshops that aim to create a safe environment where women can become empowered and integrated members of society.

If you want to know more about what we do, visit our website www.jantrust.org.

Posted in Active citizenship, Advocacy, british, Crime, discrimination, girls, Hate Crime, National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Society, Uncategorized, Violence Against Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The difference between Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents

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It’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week this week, and we have been continuing our work raising awareness and educating people about hate crime.

In light of new Home Office statistics showing that hate crime is still rising dramatically, it is now more important than ever to speak out about this issue and say no to hate.

You may have heard people talking about hate incidents as well as hate crimes, but not know the difference between the two. Below, we explain the difference and what that means in terms of reporting an incident/crime.

A hate incident is an act of violence or hostility where the victim or anyone else thinks it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on one of the following characteristics:

  • race
  • religion
  • transgender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • disability

This means that if you believe or someone else believes that something that happened was a hate incident, it can be reported and recorded as such to the police.

Hate incidents may be motivated by who you are or who someone thinks you are. For example, you may be targeted because someone thinks you are Muslim, even if you’re not.

Hate incidents can take many forms. Citizens Advice have created a list with some examples:

  • verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
  • harassment
  • bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
  • physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
  • threats of violence
  • hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
  • online abuse for example on Facebook or Twitter
  • displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
  • harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, vehicle
  • graffiti
  • arson
  • throwing rubbish into a garden
  • malicious complaints for example over parking, smells or noise.

However, some of these incidents, such as arson or hate mail, are criminal offenses.

When a hate incident becomes a criminal offence it is recognised as a hate crime. So, hate crimes are hate incidents which break the law.

Incidents which are based on other personal characteristics, such as age or gender, are not considered to be hate crimes under the law. Interestingly, there is currently a legal review underway that could see the introduction of misogyny as a new category of hate, but as it stands it is not included.

AT JAN Trust, we have spoken to many women about their experiences with hate, and unfortunately one sentiment we hear a lot is that they didn’t think it was a big enough deal to report, and they would only think about reporting if the incident was physical. However, all incidents should be reported and no one should feel embarrassed that what happened to them wasn’t ‘serious’ enough.

You may be unsure whether the incident is a criminal offence, or you may think it’s not serious enough to be reported. However, you can report both hate incidents and hate crimes to the police – reporting the incident can give police more accurate statistics and help to put a stop to hate incidents/crimes in the future. Even in the case of a hate incident where the law hasn’t necessarily been broken, the authorities can still direct you down the correct avenues for support.

At JAN Trust, we believe in dignity and respect for all, free from hate, and encourage social cohesion and diversity. That is why we raise awareness to prevent hate crime, particularly against BAMER, asylum-seeking and Muslim women. It is important to be aware of your rights and educate people about what they can do if they are a victim of hate.

Visit our website saynotohatecrime.org to find out more about the work we do to tackle hate crime.

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Hate crime in the age of Brexit – how the current political discourse is motivating hatred

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The Brexit vote to leave the EU has been accompanied by a striking rise in hate crimes in the UK. In light of this, this year’s National Hate Crime Awareness week presents itself as more important than ever to fight back against this division. Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic’. There are five recognised categories of hate crimes: motivated by either race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender identity. However, there is currently a legal review underway that could see the   introduction of misogyny as a new category of hate. 

Hate crimes have been on the rise in the past few years, especially since the Brexit campaign. The latest terrorist attacks have also been an important factor intensifying hate crime in the UK, as some people have wrongfully and unfairly linked the violent actions of ISIS with Muslims living in the UK.  A shocking increase of 123% was seen between 2012/13 and 2017/18, with 94,098 crimes recorded in 2017/18, the bulk of these crimes being racially motivated (76% in 2017/18). These were followed by hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation (12%), religiously-based (9%), disability (8%), and transgender identity (2%); however, the biggest rise was in religiously motivated hate crimes, which more than doubled, according to data. The total sum of these percentages is 107 because some of these crimes have more than one motivating factor.

It is believed that the Brexit campaign, the referendum itself, and the current political discourse are adding fuel to the fire when it comes to the rising levels of hate crime. The xenophobic rhetoric that has become normalised in the political discourse since the Brexit campaign, with the latest example being Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic comments about the burka, is helping to reinforce existing stereotypes about minority communities and immigrants in the UK. It has been because of this change in discourse that some individuals are now feeling legitimised to express their feelings of hate, while at the same time stoking hatred in the minds of others.

Some examples of these hateful acts include the case of a Polish woman being attacked in the street for speaking Polish, a Muslim women being dragged along the floor by her hijab, and two Muslim cousins being sprayed with acid. Stereotypes are very dangerous because they stigmatise entire communities based on false premises, motivating their exclusion and marginalisation. When these stereotypes are legitimised by figures of power, such as politicians, the results can be horrifying, as has proven to be the case in the UK. Politicians should then pay special attention to their words if we are to reduce the growing trend in hate offences.

Hate crimes are a growing problem in our society and action must be taken to control this situation. Steps are being taken, with misogyny potentially becoming classed as a hate crime, which is welcome news as at JAN Trust we have seen first-hand the discrimination that women face because of their gender. At JAN Trust, we believe in encouraging respect and acceptance within communities and embracing diversity. That is why we raise awareness to prevent hate crime, particularly against refugee, asylum-seeking and Muslim women. Visit our website saynotohatecrime.org to find out more about the work we do to tackle hate crime. We must continue to work together to put an end to hatred!

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Representation and responsibility: Film and TV writers need to acknowledge their influence and use it wisely

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Not all film and television writers claim to be trying to alleviate social injustice with their stories or use their creativity as a catalyst for social change. Some may write personal stories, or stories that are completely fictitious or designed as pure, light-hearted entertainment. However, it would be burying your head in the sand to deny that films and television shows have immense influence. Even if your art is deeply personal, the personal is widely regarded as political with the potential to resonate on a wider level. When an individual writes, it is not in a vacuum; they bring the weight of their own world views, experiences and biases to the table. Individual characters or themes explored in a series may consciously or subconsciously change a viewer’s opinion or reinforce a viewer’s existing prejudice.

If we accept this then we must also acknowledge that with influence comes responsibility. For any writer worth their salt, this is a responsibility to not do more harm than good and to acknowledge the messaging your work puts out into wider society, especially in terms of social justice and representation. If your work makes the lives of people who are already marginalised and discriminated against even more difficult, then you must be held accountable.

This has been highlighted recently in the BBC series ‘Bodyguard’, with many critics citing their portrayal of a Muslim woman, Nadia, as Islamophobic. The only hijab-wearing Muslim woman in the series is first showing wearing a suicide belt, which she is about to detonate (representation:  a terrorist). Then it is implied that she is being coerced and abused by her Muslim husband into terrorism (representation: oppressed Muslim woman). However, the series finale climaxes with the revelation that it is Nadia herself who created the explosive devices, free from coercion (representation: determined and autonomous terrorist). Her portrayal as either abused or a coerced/calculating terrorist only plays into already existing stereotypes of Muslim women, and is neither progressive nor ground breaking.

Maybe some could argue that it is just a story with fictitious characters. However, as I have explained, stories are rarely just stories – they have power, especially high profile BBC series. Many viewers are unable to see the storyline as mere fiction. In fact, it may reflect, cement and justify their own biases and perceptions about Muslim women, especially if they do not encounter many Muslim people in their daily lives. Therefore, this storyline has a real life impact for Muslim women and has the potential to fuel negative opinions – and it has already begun. Comedian Ava Videl recently tweeted this:

It is irresponsible to ignore the fact that this show has come at a time when hate crimes against Muslims, especially visibly Muslim women are at an alarming high. It has aired in the wake of the threat of Punish a Muslim day, Boris Johnson’s comments at Muslim women’s expense and at a time when Far-right extremism is rapidly increasing, with recent attacks motivated by Islamophobia in Cricklewood and Finsbury Park. Many Muslim women have spoken out publicly and to us at JAN Trust about feeling scared, isolated and in danger. Many have experienced verbal or physical abuse including being shouted at and called a terrorist, being accused of carrying a bomb and shockingly have been victims of violent assaults. The Bodyguard creative team must know this, and if they don’t, they either haven’t been listening or they don’t care.

This stands in contrast to the praise that some viewers and organisations have directed towards the show’s writer Jed Mercurio, for helping to alleviate the stigma of mental illness, especially PTSD, represented in the show’s main character, David. Moreover, the seemingly deliberate inclusion of women in high power roles within the series has not gone unnoticed by viewers and critics alike. It is a great shame that although positive representation was clearly acknowledged to be important for some groups, it couldn’t be extended to Muslim women or Muslims in general. Clearly, the discussions of diversity, representation and overcoming stigmatisation were happening in those boardrooms; which only underscores the utter starkness of the show’s complete misunderstanding of Muslim representation.

A new test has now been created to measure Muslim representation in film and television called the Riz Test, named after Riz Ahmed who has been a vocal advocate on the importance of representation in the media. The test states:

If the film/show stars at least one character who is identifiably Muslim (by ethnicity, language or clothing) – is the character…

  1. Talking about, the victim of, or the perpetrator of Islamist terrorism?
  2. Presented as irrationally angry?
  3. Presented as superstitious, culturally backwards or anti-modern?
  4. Presented as a threat to a Western way of life?
  5. If the character is male, is he presented as misogynistic? or if female, is she presented as oppressed by her male counterparts?

If the answer for any of the above is Yes, then the Film/ TV Show fails the test.

Unsurprisingly, the Bodyguard fails on each count. It is clear that so much more work needs to be done within the industry to properly represent Muslim people and writers need to acknowledge their responsibility in creating work which isn’t to the detriment of marginalised groups.

At JAN Trust, we understand the importance of representation and know all too well the struggles Muslim women face whether they are facing higher levels of employment discrimination or are more likely to be victims of hate crime. To find out more about the work we do visit our website http://www.jantrust.org

Posted in Active citizenship, Advocacy, british, discrimination, Diversity, Education, Ethnic Minorities, Far right, Hate Crime, hijab, Inclusion, Islam, islamophobia, mental health, Muslim, Muslim dress, Muslim women, police, Politics, Racism, Representation, Society, Terrorism, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why is feminism essential?

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Although there is still much progress to be made in British society concerning women’s rights, it’s easy to be blinkered to the fact that around the globe, Feminism is manifested differently in different cultures. In Argentina, it’s reproductive rights, with 500,000 illegal abortions carried out every year and women pushing for a bill to be pushed through Argentina legalising abortion. India is the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman, with women fighting against sexual violence, human trafficking and discrimination to name a few. In the Western world, it is the #MeToo movement, which shone a light on workplace harassment and the authority that some men hold over women.

Equality is something that women demand. However, it is a slow and arduous path to get there. Women are fighting against multiple grievances: Violence against Women and Girls, against sexual harassment, for reproductive rights, against objectification, against stalking, against the gender wage gap, for equality in the workplace, for maternal and infant health care, for parental leave, for better child care, against human trafficking, for better mental health provisions, for access to education, against discrimination, and for the right to breastfeed (to name just a few!).

We need feminism because FGM still occurs. We need feminism because infanticides still occur because of the gender of the baby. Women’s rights is an issue that affects everyone, not just women. It is also an issue that will benefit the whole of society once women’s rights progresses.

Violence against women and girls is an epidemic. 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced sexual acts. 38% of murders of women worldwide are committed by a male partner. In some countries, domestic violence is not yet considered a crime! Morocco has introduced a law to combat violence against women, which is great news, but some state which does not go far enough to protect women. Educating societies, and especially men, to treat women and girls with respect and with equality is the first step to ensuring equality for all and the safety of women and girls from violence.

Many of these issues compound and affect women and girls not just physically, but mentally too. Mental health is an issue that affects men at a much higher rate than women. However, the rate of suicide among women and girls is rising. In the UK, the number of young women and girls committing suicide has more than doubled in the last five years. Suicide and mental health must be tackled head-on, or more men and women will lose their lives to pressures that can be inhibited.

At JAN Trust we believe that the global fight for women’s rights is essential and the myriad of ways women are oppressed across the world needs to be recognised. We cater to women that come from many different countries, cultures, and speak many different languages and so have many various issues. We have users who have suffered from domestic abuse and forced marriages, mental health issues, as well as experiencing discrimination because of their gender and religion. We find this unacceptable and work to empower these women so that they can overcome as many barriers as they can in order to live freely and  independently.

To find out more about our work, go to www.jantrust.org.

Posted in Active citizenship, Advocacy, Campaign, Campaigning, discrimination, Diversity, Education, Ethnic Minorities, girls, Inclusion, Representation, Society, Uncategorized, Violence, Violence Against Women, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is Another Way Forward?

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By now, we are sure that you have heard of our project Another Way Forward: Empowering Young Women against Extremism. This is a project, run by JAN Trust, that has been kindly been supported by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), and Google.org. ISD works to empower new generations against extremism, something that we at JAN Trust aim to do with this project!

Another Way Forward is an exciting new project developed by JAN Trust to empower young women. We will travel to schools to deliver our SAFE workshops (Safeguarding Against Extremism), empowering young female students with the knowledge needed to counter extremism. They will have the opportunity to make their voices heard via campaigning and ultimately making a difference to the lives of young people in the UK!

In addition, there will be an online gendered counter-narrative resource. Resources will be created looking at gender specific cause and effects for radicalisation.

JAN Trust has pioneered counter-extremism programmes, most notably our Web Guardians™ programme, which works to empower mothers against online radicalisation. We believe that the future is young people, especially young women, who have a vital role to play in countering extremism.

We are so excited for this new chapter at JAN Trust, please follow and support our work on social media and on our website www.anotherwayforward.org!

Posted in Active citizenship, Campaign, Campaigning, Education, Hate Crime, Inclusion, Iraq, ISIS, Islam, islamophobia, JAN Trust, Jihadi Brides, London, Muslim, Muslim women, Online abuse, Online hate, Politics, Racism, radicalisation, Radicalisaton, Representation, Sajda Mughal, Syria, Terrorism, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

FGM – vital steps forward are being taken, but attitudes need to change

End FGmFGM, or Female Genital Mutilation is a huge international problem that affects millions of girls and women yearly. However, did you know that 137,000 women and girls are affected by FGM in England and Wales? This statistic is shocking and unacceptable. There were 4,495 newly recorded cases of women and girls who had undergone FGM in the period April 2017 to March 2018 alone.

Recently, a man and woman were charged with female genital mutilation of a three-year-old girl. This is terrible and it is a good thing that those complicit in FGM are now being charged for the horrendous act. This case is the third attempted prosecution for FGM in the UK, but there has never been a successful prosecution, which is unacceptable.

Five new cases have been reported in the area of Dorset – the fact that FGM is on the rise in the UK is completely unacceptable. We at JAN Trust are hoping that the fact that FGM is ‘on the rise’ is due to the fact that the previously taboo issue is now being spoken about more easily, therefore the statistics may show not ‘new’ cases but cases that are now being spoken about in the open due to a change in attitude in communities where it is most practiced.

A girl or woman who has been subjected to FGM will likely suffer the consequences of it for the rest of her life. FGM can lead to infections, increased risk of HIV and AIDS, cysts and neuromas, infertility, complications in childbirth, psychosexual problems, and trauma. These reasons alone show why FGM is so inhumane .

FGM has been illegal in the UK for over 30 years, however since 2003 it has also been illegal for UK citizens to take their child abroad to have FGM.

Please call 0208 889 9433 or email info@jantrust.org if you are a school that is interested in inviting experts such as ourselves to speak on the topic of FGM. We offer workshops in schools, colleges, community groups and statutory agencies. These workshops aim to raise awareness of how to detect cases of FGM, as well as offer advice on how to support victims. In the last 5 years, we have delivered over4200 school sessions. We have worked with over, working with 40,000 young people and practitioners across the UK and have worked in over 29 boroughs. See how you can help us continue this vital work here https://jantrust.org/project/against-fgm/ .

If you are worried about this issue in any way, please call the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk.

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