Helping women and girls stand up against honour-based violence
2015-09-01 15:33:24 -
Human Rights
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By Tim Harkins

 

So-called honour-based violence has been brought to the fore among European parliamentarians by Irish migrant support NGO Love and Care for People (LCP), who joined with the UK’s Sharan Project to raise awareness of the issue recently.

 

“Many victims live in silence sometimes not because they want to but because the necessary support is not available to them,” said LCP founder Iniobong Usanga, who also referenced a 2012 report by Women’s Aid that says one in every five women will experience abuse from those close to them in their lifetime.

 

Further research conducted by an LCP team found that a violent or abusive experiences in childhood can have a major impact on girls’ mental health as they grow older.

 

“Living a life of abuse can often seem worse than not living at all,” said Polly Harrar, founder of the Sharan Project. “Research shows that abuse in childhood or adult years can lead to anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide, alcohol and substance abuse.”

 

Organisations like the Sharan Project and LCP aim to empower women and girls in situations where they are being abused by family members on the basis of flawed cultural or religious dictates.

 

Among LCP’s training programmes and initiatives are art activities for children that help them to develop life skills like communication, problem-solving, maths, self-expression, and social and emotional skills.

 

“I really feel I am a creator when I do art,” says Victoria (7), a student at an LPC arts workshop. “I can bring to life my imagination.”

 

LCP supports activities to promote the inclusion of newcomers and migrants in Co Cork, which is home to over 57,000 people from different nationalities, and in all areas of Irish society. 

 

“I have supported several young women from the Traveller community who have suffered abuse in the name of honour. There is nothing honourable about abusing people,” said human rights activist Mandy Sanghera.

 

“We need to raise awareness of hidden crimes and empower young women to seek support and advice, our services need to be more accessible to the most vulnerable within society.”

TAGS : honour-based violence Love and Care for People Sharan Project Mental health empowerment
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