This page contains press release 92/04, in which Aneeta Prem, MPA member, says that honour killings and the high suicide rate amongst young Asian women must be tackled.
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"Honour killings and the high suicide rate amongst young Asian women must be tackled" - Aneeta Prem, MPA member
6 December 2004
Aneeta Prem, magistrate member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and lead member for forced marriages, said today:
"The suicide rate amongst Asian women aged 16 to 24 is almost three times higher than the national average and double that for women aged 25 to 35. This is unacceptable and must be tackled.
"The reasons behind this are very complex, but many young Asian women I have been in contact with experience extreme pressure to conform to the expectations of community and family against their own wishes - in essence an intense cultural clash.
"Being a young person in a society that rightly advocates self determination over one's own life can provoke conflict with the community, especially after marriage when the expectation is frequently for a woman to become subservient. This can lead to depression or much worse.
"I welcome any dialogue that will help highlight the truly awful reality that many of these young women face. We have to raise awareness amongst communities and spread best practice."
Commenting on the associated issue of honour killings, Aneeta continued:
"I welcome any effort to tackle so called honour killings, although I strongly believe that there is absolutely no honour attached to any community that gives tacit consent to what is in effect murder.
"The victims, while predominantly women, are not always from South Asia - members of African, Middle Eastern and East European communities are also affected. The practice of killing, sexual abuse, kidnapping, mental torture and physical isolation is unacceptable in any society or religion and this needs to be condemned by community leaders.
"The belief that an individual can bring dishonour on a family by going against their wishes in respect of marriage should not be condoned. At the same time we need to enable young women to feel able to talk to a teacher or the police and ask for help and that the mechanisms are in place to offer support and in the most extreme cases a safe haven."
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