A series of events are being held next week to remember victims of ‘honour-based’ violence.
They include awareness raising walks and a vigil in Wolverhampton city centre on Tuesday (14 July) – which would have been the 33rd birthday of Shafilea Ahmed.
Shafilea was brutally murdered by her parents in a so-called honour killing in 2003. Having refused an arranged marriage, her parents believed she had brought shame upon the family.
The events are being organised by Wolverhampton Councillor Rupinderjit Kaur, chair of Wolverhampton-based charity Jaikara, who said: “So-called honour-based violence is hidden within families and communities. It can take many forms of abusive behaviour and is under-reported in Wolverhampton.
“We will be raising awareness throughout the week to remember Shafilea Ahmed and all the other victims of so-called honour-based violence, and show that we, as a city, say no to this abhorrent crime.”
Throughout the week there will be four awareness raising walks covering four major roads into the city centre, while on Tuesday a small socially distanced vigil will be held at the steps of St Peter’s Collegiate Church. People are encouraged to light a candle in their own homes at 5pm and share a picture on social media using the hashtags #HBVWV2020, #Roshni and #Jaikara.
Jaikara will be launching a West Midlands Forced Marriage & Honour Based Abuse Directory, in association with Roshni, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and West Midlands Police. The directory will be available in six different languages for both victims and professionals.
Finally, on Sunday 19 July, Councillor Kaur will be walking from Sedgley to Smethwick to raise awareness of the campaign.
So-called honour-based violence is a form of domestic abuse and refers to a collection of controlling behaviours including physical violence, motivated by a perceived need to maintain or restore family honour.
Statistics show that there are around 7,000 recorded incidents of honour-based violence in the UK. However, this actual number of cases is likely to be much higher as it is under-reported. Karma Nirvana, an honour-based violence support charity, receives hundreds of calls each month.
Anyone who has either been the victim of honour-based violence, or who fears someone may be at risk, should contact the West Midlands Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse 24-hour Free Multi Lingual Helpline on 0800 953 9777, the Karma Nirvana UK helpline on 0800 599 9247, the Haven Wolverhampton on 01902 904677 or Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum on 01902 555643. In an emergency, always dial 999.