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National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour Based Violence

July 14, 2017
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Today (Friday 14 July 2017) marks the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour Based Violence, which takes place on the same date as the birthday of 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed, who was murdered in 2003.

Shafilea was born in Bradford and, soon after her birth, she moved to Warrington, Chester, with her parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed. Growing up she made friends and thrived at school. She did well in her GCSEs and planned to gain her A Levels and go on to study law.

Unfortunately, her parents had other plans for her. In February 2003 she was drugged and taken to Pakistan to be forced into a marriage. Shafilea resisted and self-harmed, swallowing bleach and damaging her oesophagus. As she got sicker her parents returned to the UK, leaving her in Pakistan with her extended family. Eventually she was returned to the UK and spent her 17th birthday in hospital.

In September 2003 she enrolled at a local college to continue her studies. Just one week later she had been murdered. Her parents strangled and smothered her in front of her four younger siblings. Her body was disposed of and the family carried on as if nothing had happened.

A police investigation began shortly afterwards and, in 2012, Iftikhar and Farzana were convicted of her murder and each sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.

Shafilea was killed by the very people who should have protected her. Instead, she was treated dreadfully during her short life. Her parents hated the fact that she was mixing with local girls and wanted her to conform to their wishes. Shafilea resisted and she paid with her life.

Honour based abuse (HBA) is the term for crimes or incidents committed to 'protect or defend the honour' of a family and/or community. It can take many different forms including:

• harassment

• criminal damage

• arson

• sexual assault

• forced marriage

• kidnap

• murder

• domestic violence

• threats to kill

If you or someone you know is at risk of being forced into marriage or harmed in any way, contact the police so that you can be protected. We appreciate that it’s often difficult for victims to come forward and we will take your report seriously and ensure that you’re protected and supported.

You can call Nottinghamshire Police in a non-emergency on 101 – if there is a crime in progress or a danger to life you should always call 999. If you’re not able to speak due to the situation, call 999 and wait for the operator to prompt you to either make a noise or dial 55 to ensure you’re put through as an emergency call.

If you would prefer to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Support the Day of Remembrance hashtag: #WeRemember

101 is the number to call when you need to contact Nottinghamshire Police and it’s less urgent than a 999 call. Calls cost 15p, no matter how long the call lasts.

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