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Support for victims of forced marriage & honour based violence

Last month I attended a roadshow hosted by Karma Nirvana, a charity that not only helps and supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour based violence but works tirelessly to raise awareness and educate people about these issues.

For those who may be unaware of these issues, honour based violence is a form of domestic abuse where victims are punished for bringing "shame" to their family and is carried out in the name of family "honour". Forced marriage is very different to an arranged marriage where both parties have freely given their consent and want to marry. Those being forced to marry are either unable to or have not given consent and will be pressurised, threatened or be marrying under duress. Forced marriage is not part of any religion, culture or tradition and is against the law in the UK.

You may remember the news of the death of Shafilea Ahmed, murdered at the age of 17 by her parents for bringing "shame" to her family as she wanted to integrate and live like others in the UK. Following this case Karma Nirvana campaigned - and were successful - in securing the 14th July as a nationally recognised Day of Memory for all the victims of forced marriage and honour based abuse.

It is estimated that 5000 women a year worldwide, 12 being British are killed for bringing "shame" to their families although this is probably higher as many victims "disappear," a shocking statistic. So in support of their campaign, to help highlight these issues, and to remember the victims, this blog is dedicated to Karma Nirvana, their hard work and the 14th July, Day of Memory.

If you are affected by the issues in this blog and you need help, support or advise, please go to www.karmanirvana.org.uk