Bristol sisters aim to raise awareness of ‘honour hate’

bristol sisters aim to raise awareness of honour hate - Bristol sisters aim to raise awareness of 'honour hate'
Image caption The sisters want to raise awareness of “slut shaming” in their community

Two sisters who were victims of “honour hate” in their community are to work to raise awareness of it in schools.

Amaleehah and Nadia Aslam-Forrester, from Bristol, were bullied by members of the Asian community for posting photos of themselves in skirts online.

The sisters, who have a Pakistani mother and English father, said they were “slut-shamed” for not upholding cultural norms of women’s behaviour.

They are now working with a charity to educate children about the issue.

So-called honour crimes are acts that have been committed to protect or defend the supposed honour or reputation of a family and community.

Amaleehah Aslam-Forrester, 22, said the pair had always been creative and would use Instagram to express their love of art, modelling and clothes.

However, they faced a backlash online for the photographs because of what they said were “deeply ingrained cultural pressures”.

Image copyright Amaleelah
Image caption Amaleelah said the “hate messages” they received were “awful”

Their social media presence also alarmed their mother, who herself has faced honour-related violence and was shunned for marrying a non-Muslim English man.

Worried about their safety, she put the sisters in touch with Integrate, a youth-led charity in Bristol which has campaigned for gender and racial equality and been supported by Sport Relief.

They attended a series of workshops with other young women about issues including female genital mutilation, sexism and honour-based violence and eventually made a film about the issue.

Amaleehah said: “In our community, honour lies within the body of a woman.

“There’s always pressure on her to uphold men’s honour in her behaviour and also in the way she dresses.

‘Hate messages’

“We had one case where someone told us to drink bleach [on social media].

“We got a lot of hate messages. Some people were anonymous, making fake accounts. It was awful.

“And that was all because we were being judged, there was stereotyping involved.”

She said “slut-shaming” in general was about women’s honour and also happened in Western culture.

“Integrate gave us a voice in a community that didn’t really understand us.”

The sisters are now both employed to raise awareness of honour hate in Asian communities in schools across the UK.

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