West Midlands: Forced marriage and ‘honour’ based violence, victim tells her story
September 21, 2012, 10:24 am
A BRAVE young woman, who escaped her abusive family, will be heard at a forced marriage conference this week in Walsall in a bid to help others and raise awareness around the issue.
Participants at the conference will hear how the woman – given the alias of ‘Jasmine – refused to marry and was then subjected to three years of abuse by her family.
At 16, ‘Jasmine was taken to Pakistan and made to agree to a marriage she did not want. On her return to England she refused to go ahead with the marriage and over the next three years her family abused her and held her hostage in her own home.
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After several years of abuse, she found the courage to contact the police and with their help and support found the strength to escape.
The one day conference has been organised by a new task force set up to tackle honour based violence and forced marriages and hopes to help people understand what it is and to recognise when someone may be at risk.
Police officers from the Walsall Public Protection Unit (PPU) together with Walsalls Domestic Violence Forum and other local agencies make up the task force and they will highlight the problem through a series of workshops, presentations and inspirational speeches.
‘All our daughters?, a play, based on victims real life accounts will be performed by the Newvic Borderlines. The play, which has been seen by thousands of school children across Walsall since its launch in 2010, hopes to raise awareness amongst youngsters around the issue.
Detective Sergeant Trudy Runham, a member of the task force, said: “Every year hundreds of young people across the country, both male and female are forced into marriage against their will, often by violence and blackmail from their own families.
“These forced marriages can spiral into a number of criminal offences which is often referred to as ‘honour based violence and this violence can lead to assault, criminal damage, kidnap, false imprisonment and in the worst cases, murder.
“The event, organised by Walsall’s Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Steering group, aims to educate people who work and come into contact with potential victims at risk. We hope the event will equip them with the knowledge and tools to ensure they recognise when somebody may be at risk and to play a key part in helping to make somebody safe at the earliest opportunity.”