FORCED MARRIAGES PROJECT
Love, Honour and Obey
St Philip’s Centre has been awarded a Foreign and Commonwealth Office grant for a new project addressing forced marriage.
The ‘Love, Honour & Obey’ project will support women, families and communities to receive support, information and advice they need to combat the issue of forced marriage. The work follows on from an earlier pilot entitled ‘STR!VE’ which focused on forced marriages, domestic abuse and honour based violence.
‘Love Honour & Obey’ will explore the issues around forced marriages with women from Leicester using role play scenarios. The dedicated project workers are Rumena Choudhury and Sumaiya Mulla.
The project aims to equip young women to become champions by raising awareness and challenging the issue of forced marriage to facilitate changes in their own communities.
The issue of forced marriage is topical with Leicestershire Police reporting investigations of 52 city-based incidents involving suspected forced marriage or honour based abuse over a 12 month period alone. Forced marriage often becomes confused with introduced marriages and both are often associated with particular religions. This project aims to dispel several stereotypes and myths.
Project worker Rumena Choudhury said, “Faith and the issue of forced marriages are often linked and faith is used as a justification for a forced marriage. This project will offer evidence that no religion justifies forced marriages. Faith leaders will be brought in at appropriate points in support of this message. The project will emphasise that forced marriage is an abuse of an individual’s human rights and will help participants understand these rights”.
Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre, Riaz Ravat added, “Forced marriages are a stain on our society and we must all work to support current and indeed potential, future victims of this practice. Love, Honour & Obey hopes to educate and provide support to many vulnerable people and communities”.
The Centre was chosen for its excellent track record of promoting positive community relations through dialogue, religion and belief training, leadership programmes for young people and community engagement projects where they work with a range of communities including those of religion and others.
For more details contact the Centre on 0116 273 3459 or email the project leaders:-
Rumena Choudray email@example.com
Sumaiya Mulla firstname.lastname@example.org
PILOT PROJECT – STR!VE
STR!VE was a pilot project which ran in 2010/11 and was designed to help encourage women to speak up about issues affecting them. The aim was to heighten awareness and understanding of the diversity of women within the community, with an emphasis on developing cohesive leadership rooted in the ethos of knowledge, confidence and teamwork. It provided women with opportunities to enable them to actively participate in and contribute to their diverse society and promote women as positive role models in society.
STR!VE worked with Muslim women on an empowerment project in association with St Philips Centre after a government report identified Muslim women as a target audience to be worked with in order to help counter the threat of violent extremism. The Communities and Local government report “Preventing Violent Extremism-Winning Hearts and Minds” identified that women’s voices are one of the least heard and that they needed more forums to encourage them to speak out.
During the course of the pilot, STR!VE ran an empowerment course encouraging women to sign up and learn skills to encourage them to speak up on issues that affected them in their communities and societies and established of a women’s support network. This was a forum for the women to consult on when issues arose to help promote new and up and coming positive role models for their communities.
STR!VE also held presentations and projects where key women in positions of influence from different professions were invited to talk and help empower other women encouraging them to make a difference. This provided an opportunity for Muslim women to engage and network with female community leaders and other members.
STR!VE was particularly keen to work with women who may not have considered themselves to be ‘leaders’ but nevertheless wanted to be heard. The project encouraged up and coming Muslim women to enhance their leadership skills and increase the participation of other Muslim women who are not usually seen in the media or in public.
Strive report available here: course-report-strive