Iram Ramzan reports an appeal for Muslim women to report domestic abuse.
Shaista Gohir, chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, made the appeal after a report highlighted the sexual grooming of Asian girls by gangs.
The MWN report was compiled after high-profile cases showed mostly Asian men were preying on young white girls.
The report showed Asian girls are also a target, most vulnerable to offenders from their own communities.
Now Ms Gohir wants to speak to victims of sexual abuse by family members for a new report. During her research last year Ms Gohir said many victims she spoke to asked if she was looking for stories on sexual abuse in the home, and needed a separate study.
She said: “I thought at the time it must be really common. I want case studies within the Muslim community to make them realise that part of the problem is our silence. The problem is getting worse and worse.”
Part of the problem is always silence, isn’t it. Family violence is always at least initially covered up, because that’s how family works. There have to be people like Shaista Gohir reaching out to help.
“Women are the barrier to justice. You’ve got mothers, who you expect to be nurturing, who are covering it up. Isn’t it our fault as a community if we instantly protect the offender and demonise that victim? This happens in all communities, but within Asian culture there are shame and honour issues that result in a cover-up.
“From what I’m hearing, sexual abuse in the family is a bigger problem than gangs.”
The Muslim Women’s Network can help.
Contact Shaista by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 078022 25989. More info: www.mwnuk.co.uk.