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Murdered by their parents

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#RememberShafilea, 14 July, Day of Memory, honour killings, murder, torture, disappear, young womenRemembering the young women killed and tortured in so-called honour-based violence.

This year 14 July marks the third National Day of Memory for ‘Britain’s Lost Women’ – the victims of honour-based violence.

This date was chosen to to be a day of remembrance because 14 July was the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, who was brutally murdered by her parents in 2003 at the age of just 17 because she wanted to live her own life and have a career instead of entering into an arranged marriage in Pakistan.

She had dreams of becoming a lawyer and living a full life away from the cruel and violent tyranny of her parents.

Shafilea would have been 31 years old in 2017.

#RememberShafilea

But Shafilea is by no means alone in her tragic experience.

It is her life, and the lives of the many other young women killed and tortured by so-called honour-based violence, that are celebrated on 14 July. Remembering and truly honouring their will to live life on their own terms.

The Halo Project, set up to support victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and FGM, says there are approximately 12 to 15 reported honour killings every year in the United Kingdom.

Data obtained by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) – an organisation that protects Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls who are at risk of  ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage, child marriagefemale genital mutilation and domestic violence – shows that despite under-reporting, there are over 2,000 cases of ‘honour’ crime recorded by UK police forces each year.

Even then, these figures do not reflect the full extent of the problem.

‘Honour’ crime is not only under-reported because victims are too scared to come forward; it is also the result of poor and inappropriate recording of crime data.

Nor do what statistics there are take into account the many people and school children who are taken abroad and do not return, and whose whereabouts are never known.

And they do not reflect victims of terrifying, non-violent abuse who cannot make a single decision about their own lives, either.

If you or someone you know is suffering from, or at risk of, honour-based violence, which also includes forced marriage, there is help available:

You can call IKWRO from Monday to Friday from 9.30-5.30 on 0207 920 6460.

The Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) runs a confidential, non-judgemental, faith and culturally sensitive helpline that can offer advice and support.

The freephone number from landlines is 0800 999 5786.

From mobiles you can call for free on 0303 999 5786.

The MWN Helpline is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

MWNUK also have a website with a web chat facility.

If you or someone you know is at risk of forced marriage, you can contact the UK government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) on 020 7008 0151 or The Sharan Project on 0844 5 043 231.

If you – or someone you know – feel threatened or are in immediate danger call the police on 999.

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