Video: Honour abuse victim speaks about experiences

A victim of so-called '˜honour violence' has spoken about the support she was given by police to get away from the situation.

Shafilea Ahmed would have turned 30 today.

Her story is being shared by South Yorkshire Police as part of a nationwide day to commemorate victims who lost their lives in honour killings.

Today was chosen as it would have been the 30th birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, a woman from Bradford who was murdered by her parents in September 2003.

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Iftikhar Ahmed and his wife, Farzana, were told they would serve a minimum of 25 years in prison for the crime.

The South Yorkshire victim talking about her experiences is a young South Asian woman, who did not want to be identified.

She said contacted police about the honour based violence she was suffering at home but did so as a last resort because she saw police as law enforcers only.

“When I told the police about what had happened to me and what I had been experiencing, I did not feel judged once and I felt comfortable enough to tell them everything as this is how they made me feel,” she said.

“Being able to open up about such things has always been difficult for me and up until this day I still hesitate to explain my situation to individuals. However, I did not and have not felt like this at all to all of the members of staff that I spoke to.

“I see the police in a whole different light to what I did previously and I cannot explain how grateful I am to all of the officers.

“I hope that individuals that are suffering from similar situations are able to reach out to the police and take their help as it is a decision that I have made that I do not regret. I finally feel happy and this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the friendly, helpful nature of the police.”

Honour based abuse, which can affect both men and women, is a crime or incident that has or may have been committed in order to protect or defend the honour of a family or community.

A wide range of behaviour, attitudes or actions could be perceived as creating ‘dishonour, ranging from inappropriate make-up or clothing and smoking to pregnancy outside marriage or rejecting an arranged marriage.

Individuals, families and communities can take drastic steps to preserve or defend their honour, which can, at its worst, result in murder.

Forces across the country and other supporters of today’s event are tweeting using #WeRemember.

The charity Karma Nirvana, which provides support and advice to victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage, is also leading an event in Newcastle, where survivors of this crime will share their personal stories.

Detective Inspector Karen Hockley, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Once again we are proud to support the work of Karma Nirvana and play our part in raising awareness of this awful crime, which we know continues to be under-reported across the country.

“You’ve heard from one brave victim in our region, who was able to come forward and talk to police about her abuse. We protected her, we helped her, and now she is safe from harm.

“I’d urge anyone out there who is suffering from honour based abuse, or if you think you know anyone who may be suffering, to call police.”

Call police via 101 to report honour based abuse or Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 for help and support.