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Karma Nirvana calls for a statutory definition of Honour Based Abuse in memory of Fawziyah Javed

We launch our campaign for a statutory definition on Honour Based Abuse.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact [email protected]

Sector Partners Agree and Push for Statutory Definition (#Push4Change)

Read more here.

https://karmanirvana.org.uk/news-item/push4change/

Karma Nirvana is delighted to announce the launch of our campaign to put a statutory definition of Honour Based Abuse in place. This launches on International Women’s Day (8th March 2024), in memory of Fawziyah Javed. 

Channel 4 recently aired The Push: Murder on the Cliff, which follows the trial of Kashif Anwar for the murder of Fawziyah Javed, who was pushed from Arthur’s Seat while pregnant. Fawziyah’s murderer was convicted; however, the Javed family are still left with the loss of their only child. 

Honour Based Abuse (HBA) remains an insidious threat, hidden in the shadows of our communities, eluding detection due to its concealed nature. Despite three decades of increased awareness, addressing HBA is an ongoing challenge, hindered by the lack of a clear statutory definition.

In response to the recent Channel 4 documentary “The Push: Murder on The Cliff,” Karma Nirvana and partners launch the #Push4Change campaign on International Women’s Day (8th March). This initiative calls upon the government to urgently introduce a statutory definition for Honour Based Abuse and address this complex issue. The mother of Fawziyah Javed, Yasmin Javed, supports the campaign for a statutory definition stating “More needs to change to prevent future tragedies”.

Fawziyah’s tragic experiences, as documented in “The Push,” exposes the harsh realities of Honour Based Abuse. Fawziyah’s experienced domestic abuse which was compounded by the weight of honour dynamics, where shame and stigma created formidable barriers. In a chilling moment during the documentary, her father-in-law claimed, “She’s our daughter, not theirs,”. This showcases how familial complicity and the objectification of women are deeply entrenched within Honour Based Abuse. Through Karma Nirvana’s helpline work, we often see how women are treated as possessions rather than individuals.

Despite the tireless efforts of charities over the past three decades, effectively dealing with Honour Based Abuse remains challenging. Last year, the Women and Equality Committee’s recommendation for a legal definition was rejected by the government, leaving vulnerable HBA victims in a vicious cycle of being continually misunderstood without a definition.

What is Honour Based Abuse?

Honour Based Abuse is a deeply complex issue, which is widely misunderstood, meaning that hundreds of victims are not being helped and perpetrators are escaping justice. It can take many forms, including child marriage, virginity testing, enforced abortion, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, as well as physical, sexual and economic abuse and coercive control. There is currently little accurate data on the true extent of Honour Based Abuse and its impact on women and girls – its true scale, scope and prevalence is not known, and so it remains a thriving but invisible problem. Honour Based Abuse is often thought of as a ‘cultural’, ‘traditional’ or ‘religious’ problem. Perpetrators are often partners or ex-partners, or family members. We know, through calls to our national Honour Based Abuse Helpline, that most victims experience abuse from multiple perpetrators, including parents and siblings. 

It can lead to a deeply embedded form of coercive control, such as the coercive control seen in Fawziyah Javed’s case, and it is built on expectations about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. Control is often established without overt violence against the victim. For example, family members may threaten to kill themselves or ostracise the victim. 

Honour Based Abuse is a deeply entrenched issue that affects individuals across communities and cultures. Karma Nirvana recognises the importance of having a clear and comprehensive understanding of this complex issue, in order to ensure victims are supported effectively, their risks are assessed correctly, and that they are protected from harm. We hope this will help prevent future tragedies 

We recognise that until a definition is put into the statute book and properly reflected in government language, this issue will continue to be misunderstood, under-represented and inadequately resourced. 

Why do we need a statutory definition for Honour Based Abuse?

The #Push4Change campaign, supported by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs, urges a shared statutory understanding of HBA, emphasising:

In conclusion, Karma Nirvana advocates for the establishment of a statutory definition for Honour Based Abuse. This critical step is not just about words; it’s about acknowledging the problem for what it truly is and providing survivors with the recognition and support they deserve. The impact of a shared statutory understanding would be profound, creating a unified approach, protecting victims, and ensuring accountability for all perpetrators of abuse.

How can I help? 

There are many ways to get involved in this campaign. See how you can get involved below:

Sharing what Honour Based Abuse is and the need for a definition

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Read our sector briefing

Read #Push4Change Campaign Calls for Urgent Action: Establishing a Statutory Definition for Honour-Based Abuse

 

Join the conversation on #Push4Change

Share your experience of the documentary using the hashtag #Push4Change and encourage others to watch The Push

#Push4Change

Read more about Honour Based Abuse

Get clarity on what Honour Based Abuse is

https://karmanirvana.org.uk/get-help/what-is-honour-based-abuse/

#Push4Change Campaign Calls for Urgent Action: Establishing a Statutory Definition for Honour-Based Abuse