A typical Asian woman going through a typical Asian situation

One woman killed by an abusive husband.

Mumtahina Jannat was killed by her abusive husband, Abdul Kadir, in 2011 after surviving years of being drugged, beaten and raped by him.

The abuse had started since she married Kadir at the age of 16, and continued till her death at the age of 28.

She’d approached various doctors, case workers and lawyers, but didn’t receive the support necessary to leave her husband and have sole custody of her children.

Her niece Onjali Rauf, who founded an anti-abuse charity called Making Herstory after Jannat’s death, has now spoken out saying that one of the biggest problems was that professionals all dismissed Jannat’s abuse as “a typical Asian situation”.

One judge told Jannat she was being “silly” when she said she was afraid her husband was going to kill her.

“One of the key things my aunt went through that lost her faith in the system was she was seen as a typical Asian woman going through a typical Asian situation and therefore being ignored by her case workers or her lawyers even,” said Rauf.

“She just felt like she didn’t have a voice, like her voice was numbed because of the fact that she represented a certain community.”

As if violence becomes less lethal when there is more of it.

Rauf was speaking at the launch of the Femicide Census, which has been created by Freshfields law firm for Women’s Aid and Nia, a charity working to end violence against women and children, to raise awareness about men’s fatal violence against women.

It analyses existing census data and has found thatnearly half of the 694 British women killed by men over four years died at the hands of a partner or former partner.

It means Jannat’s situation is not uncommon – she is one of 319 women to be murdered by a partner, between 2009 and 2013.

And that’s no more normal or routine for her than it is for anyone else.

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of Nia, stressed: “Male violence against women is cultural – it is absolutely intrinsic and systemic in mainstream British culture.”

The Femicide Census now hopes to reduce femicides – murders of women – by raising awareness about the common themes involved in the killings.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said the statistics show that violence against women “should be at the absolute centre of our social policy.”

Quite as if women actually mattered.


  1. Katherine Woo says

    By “Asian” British cowards mean “Muslim”.

    They sacrificed thousands of white British girls to Muslim rapists, so it is hardly a surprise that women from Muslim homes can get no protection either.

    What is “absolutely intrinsic and systemic in mainstream British culture” is not violence against women, but pusillanimity about offending non-white belief system and punishing criminals harshly. We see the same cowardice on the American left where virtually every white feminist of note, with honorable exceptions (nod to Ophelia), avoids discussing Islamic misogyny at all costs.

  2. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    IMHO, this seems like it’s also possibly a result of certain anti-Muslim attitudes. By dehumanizing Muslims and drawing on a certain cultural and moral relativism, the professionals were able to dismiss the abuse as “normal for ‘Asian’ couples”.

  3. sambarge says

    Katherine Woo @#4

    By “Asian” British cowards mean “Muslim”.

    Actually, by “Asian” the British (cowards or otherwise) mean someone from the continent of Asia. It’s just a difference of speech between British English and North American English in that we (in NA) don’t tend to refer to people from the Indian sub-continent as Asian. It’s not an attempt to avoid calling her Muslim, I’m sure, and actually suggests a racist attitude towards all ethnically Indian and Pakastani Britons, regardless of their faith.

    That said, I wish we had a clearer version of events here. Wasn’t this woman’s family able to help her or were they unaware of her abuse? If abuse isn’t accepted in Asian-British communities, then were was the community or familial support for Mumatahina?

    I see yet another woman let down by the state, her family and her community.

  4. Katherine Woo says

    “It’s not an attempt to avoid calling her Muslim”

    Yes, it most definitely is. Other “Asians” (I’m a Korean-American by the way in case the surname “Woo” confused you) even complained about it in light of the latest sex abuse scandals:

    This is long-standing British press policy to paper over the connection between Islamic misogyny and homophobia and the persistence of misogyny and homophobia in a particular “Asian” community where men just happen to have the Arab given name “Abdul”.

    I agree with you she was failed by everyone, from the government on down.

  5. sambarge says

    I didn’t know you were posting under your real name but I fail to see how your ethnic heritage is relevant to the discussion. By the way, if you’re confused, my name isn’t sambarge and I’m of Italian descent.

    The usage of “Asian” to refer to immigrants to Britain from the Indian sub-continent dates back to the 1600s, about 200 yrs before Fleet Street was established so definitely not a conspiracy by the British press to camouflage the actions of British Muslims. The article you linked to refers to Hindu and Sikh Britons who are protesting being lumped in with Pakistani-British Muslims who broke the law because they were called “Asian” by the press. If you ask me, that just sounds like Indians shitting Pakistanis more than anything else.

  6. bigwhale says

    There is some confirmation bias going on if someone thinks Islam and Muslims are not being criticized. (Probably confirmation bias on the other side too who sees too much criticism. )

    That, or a situation like that faced by moderate Muslims, where they are seen as not denouncing violence when actually every major group has been denouncing. Just because an individual feminist group hasn’t denounced someone’s pet grievance, doesn’t mean they support or are even specifically ignoring it.

    Yes there could be a liberal politically correct conspiracy to overly defend Muslims. Or they could be busy doing something else. Or agree but just already see so much criticism that adding more would only serve to inflame rather than inform.

  7. Van Pelt says

    Hasn’t anyone here read about sexism, misogyny and harassment within the atheist community:

    At least, no women atheist are killed or beaten by one of their own. They do however have to deal with ongoing harassment, death threats, trolling etc. but hey, no atheists have been killed so far.

    Violence against women is still just that, violence. It wouldn’t matter if you’re atheist or Muslim, just so long we have to stop men from hitting women.

    If atheists do care about ending domestic violence within the Muslim community, we should start by collaborating with various Muslim organizations dedicated to ending domestic violence, starting with:

    Peaceful Families Project
    Muslim Advocacy Network Against Domestic Violence

    This orgs are dealing with prejudices from within the Muslim community, and atheists and humanists should reach out to them if they need help fighting domestic abuse.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    @Katherine Woo, 4:

    By “Asian” British cowards mean “Muslim”.

    Umm… no. British people, cowards and heroes alike, use “Asian” generally to mean those people who are here as a result of the postwar wave of immigration from the colonies. Which means, mainly Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (mostly Muslim) and Indians (mostly Hindu, also lots of Sikhs).

    It’s a British usage which often confuses USAians. It also can confuse Brits when we hear USAians say “Asian” to mean Pacific-Asian, because in the USA “Oriental” is regarded as offensive, whereas in the UK it’s no more loaded than, say, “African”.

    And from an institutional perspective, this woman would be regarded as “typical Asian”. Misogyny and abuse is not a cultural trait unique to Pakistan or Bangladesh, or a religious trait unique to Islam. Indian Hindus are perfectly as capable of it.

    White British people are obviously perfectly capable of it as well… but if you’re a social worker, police officer or other “contact worker”, you’ll never be accused of the career-limiting charge of racism for thoroughtly investigating a complaint of domestic violence from or about someone white.

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