Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/730/15067

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 August 2012

Shafilia Ahmed murder: A question of women's rights

Cathy Meadows

The horrific murder of Shafilia Ahmed by her parents will no doubt be exploited by the far right and used by the government to further their attacks on minority groups.

The right wing press focused on a young Asian woman caught between two cultures; a Times editorial saying that Shafilia's murder was "the result of a collision of cultures".

The failure of agencies to support Shafilia, the Times suggests, was a fear of "trampling on religious and cultural sensitivities" and the Daily Express puts it down to "the destructive and divisive creed of multiculturalism."

In fact this case is about women's rights and violence against women. When a woman's behaviour is seen to represent the status or self-respect of an individual man, a family, a community or a country; this is sexism. It happens in all cultures.

Stereotypes

In Western popular culture there are many songs, plays, and films where women are mistreated or killed for "humiliating" their partner. How many of us have sung along to the words, "I love you Delilah, I just couldn't take any more" about a man who kills his lover who has been unfaithful? In 2012 the Court of Appeal allowed that infidelity could be used as part of a defence of "loss of control" in a case where a man murdered his partner.

Equally stereotypes about women mean that we don't get taken seriously, don't get believed, get sent back into a violent situation - even, as also happened to Shafilia, questioned in sight of an abuser.

In Shafilia's case, stereotypes about young Asian women will have also influenced the response of agencies. Identifying what happened as sexism does not make Shafilia's murder any less terrible, but it should inform future responses to such cases.

Shafilia's mother's role in her murder may seem inexplicable but women do internalise sexist attitudes and, in hierarchical and sexist set ups, some will ally themselves with the person (man) in power.

But many women and men are prepared to fight for women's rights, often risking being ostracised by their families, or even their lives. Shafilia's sister, Alesha is one such woman and her bravery and commitment to women's rights is an inspiration to us all.

Last year there were 31% cuts in local authority funding to the domestic violence and sexual abuse sector which led to closures of refuges and support services including the closure of two specialist refuges for minority women and cuts to two more. Cuts in the last year to police and court services impacted Domestic Abuse Officers and female genital mutilation and domestic violence courts, says a Lancaster University report.

Further cuts can be expected this year and the charities Refuge and Women's Aid say that women's refuges will close down as a result of planned changes to housing benefit under the Universal Credit proposals.

This is then compounded by the major housing crisis. If domestic violence services were being fully funded, resourced and developed and decent council housing available would Shafilia still be alive today?

Clear message

Trade unions need to lead a campaign to demand full funding and reopening of all services which support women and children experiencing or fleeing from violence and abuse, including the many developing specialist services for minority women and young women. They should also campaign against legislation which puts women who are immigrants particularly at risk.

Just to focus on support services without fighting to end violence against women however is not enough. Any campaign also needs to send out a clear message which condemns violence against women and challenges the myths which are used to justify it.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 22 August 2012:


International socialist news and analysis

Support South African miners


National Shop Stewards Network

Lobby the TUC on 9 September: Demand a 24-hour strike against austerity


Socialist Party Readers' Comments

Zero-hour contracts mean zero rights

Scrounger? The truth about living on the dole

Tottenham: a year since the riots


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fare rises and rail cuts: Kick the fat cats off our railways!

NHS: Dewsbury mass meeting opposes PFI

Another News of the World perjury charge

Doors close after A-level results

Justice for Kingsley Burrell!

Updates

WikiLeaks and Assange: No extradition to the USA

Shafilia Ahmed murder: A question of women's rights

Tommy Walker - tribute to a working class fighter

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

And the toilet seat medal goes to... Sheffield City Council!

Southampton rebels continue fight against council cuts

Victory for One Housing workers

Draconian sentences for Pussy Riot protest will backfire on Putin

End seafarers' poverty wages

Builders plan to stop 'Besna 2' at Crown House

In Brief: POA rejects pensions offer


Socialist Party feature

Food: Scoffing on profits

The Olympics: Sport for all, or just for the elite?


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 August 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  




Related links:

Women:

triangleCoronavirus and domestic violence: a double threat to women's lives

triangleChildcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

triangleDomestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services

triangleFilm: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom

triangleWomen's rights, trans rights and the labour movement

Cuts:

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleCouncils must break austerity rules

triangleBook: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Violence against women:

triangleWeinstein found guilty

triangleInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The fight against low pay

Domestic violence:

triangleHousing cuts cost lives

triangleRefuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Housing:

triangleOrganising in the workplace in the time of coronavirus

Sexism:

triangleInternational Women's Day: Fighting sexism and austerity

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

25/3/20

Coronavirus

We need tests for all now! Nationalise production and research

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus plunges capitalism into global turmoil

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus crisis: Tests, full pay and funding - for all now

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Union independence must be maintained - a reply to the TUC

25/3/20

Coronavirus

State intervention shows what is possible

25/3/20

Care workers

Social care: "Not good enough by miles"

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief

25/3/20

Domestic violence

Coronavirus and domestic violence: a double threat to women's lives

23/3/20

Coronavirus

Too little too late

19/3/20

Coronavirus

The new crisis and its consequences

19/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus and school closures: what needs to be done now

18/3/20

Coronavirus

Councils must break austerity rules

18/3/20

Coronavirus

Under the microscope: socialist coronavirus news in brief

18/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus hospital worker: amazing response from staff - but worst still to come

18/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus: socialist planning, not capitalist chaos!

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999