Tags: America's Forum | Jasvinder Sanghera | honor killings | Karma Nirvana

Women's Rights Activist Decries Silence on Honor Killings

By    |   Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 03:23 PM

Most communities, even in the western world are turning a "blind eye" to honor killings and violence that is occurring in their midst, says women's rights activist and former honor violence victim Jasvinder Sanghera.

"The sad fact is that where this is happening within communities and many communities, not just South Asia, Afghan, Kurdish, Iranian communities where this is happening, the communities know about this, and sadly they turn a blind eye," Sanghera told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Thursday.

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"We do not hear people reporting within those communities. In fact they collude in those communities," she said.

"When you see a murder happening, and in Britain there are at least 12 a year, what happens in that community is a deadly silence, and also sadly when our victims are reporting they are misunderstood," she explained. 

"There is a real issue here with respect to the professionals, especially the police, whereby their own awareness and understanding needs to be increased if we are going to get past the wall of silence the communities bring up when these murders happen," she added.

Sanghera is the founder of Karma Nirvana, a support network for victims of honor crimes and forced marriages in the United Kingdom. She also recently appeared in a documentary about honor violence called "Honor Diaries."

She explains that honor violence comes from "within a family dynamic that operates what we call an honor system. They are taught that they have the power to dishonor and shame their family just by being normal adolescent teenagers in Britain, same here in America."

This includes behavior such as "going out with their friends, dating, talking to a boy, wearing makeup, all these behaviors that are very normal are very often deemed shameful by their family."

"The families will perceive those behaviors as shameful, and then they will significantly harm them to put them back on track or even as we know in the extreme, kill them," she said.

"People cannot comprehend that you could actually be killed for being seen talking to a boy," she added. "We have those cases, they are real life cases."

One factor that keeps these victims from getting the help they need, Sanghera said, is political correctness.

"You see the mentality exists whereby there is a culture of not wanting to offend communities, having to be culturally sensitive, not wanting to be called a racist, and that mentality is preventing victims from accessing support," she explained.

"Even if we look at the film 'Honor Diaries,' which needs to be out there and screened everywhere, we are having opposition to the film being screened, generating this debate because we are speaking truth. We are making people feel uncomfortable," she said.

Sanghera told a story about a situation that occurred "in Britain, in one school, we had over 100 girls go missing from an education log, deemed at risk of forced marriage and honor based abuse.

"They were South Asian girls ages 15, 16. Nobody asked where they had gone because the attitude was, 'it's what they do, isn't it? We don't want to rock the boat,' " she said.

"If 100 white British females went missing from a school roll, Britain would have been jumping up and down," she added.

"That mentality exists [in the United States], and while we think like that, we are colluding with the perpetrators, and we are giving them greater power."

Sanghera is in the United States to create more awareness of honor crimes and to urge President Barack Obama to create a National Day of Memory for the victims of honor violence around the world.

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Most communities, even in the western world are turning a "blind eye" to honor killings and violence that is occurring in their midst, says women's rights activist and former honor violence victim Jasvinder Sanghera.
Jasvinder Sanghera, honor killings, Karma Nirvana
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2015-23-16
Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 03:23 PM
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