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.