Author: Kanta Mall
Why I am passionate about feminism and activism?
Over the years, I have observed cultural injustices repetitively play out against South Asian women in the UK and around the world involving harmful practices such as; domestic violence abuse, dowry violence, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and horrific honour killings.
In my mid-twenties, I also came across the book “Shame” written by Jasvinder Sanghera, based on her true-life story of being faced with an arranged marriage at the young age of fourteen. It was a heart-wrenching read, describing cultural oppression of generational trauma and family honour with her quest for freedom involving fleeing home. I was inspired by Jasvinder’s powerful story, despite all the adversity and tribulations – this remarkable woman maintained immense courage to keep going and successfully re-built her life.
Why I decided to volunteer for the Sharan Project?
I felt a strong urge to be part of the women’s rights movement to combat change against domestic and sexual abuse by openly talking about control and disparity between men and women that are occurring in South Asian communities.
Particularly, during the COVID-19 lockdowns, I constantly heard on media channels that the number of domestic and sexual abuse cases was at an all-time high. I found this extremely disturbing, and remember thinking ‘enough is enough’ and I wanted to do something positive to help change this narrative.
I became a volunteer in November 2021 for the Sharan Project to help raise awareness about domestic violence abuse, and issues that South Asian women experience to diminish cultural stereotypes.
I am supporting the communications team with developing digital content to motivate women to have the confidence, independence and skills to overcome hardship to live a life of good quality without cultural oppression.
How does the team at Sharan help victims and survivors?
Research shows that many factors are affecting domestic abuse victims walking away from an abusive spouse; cultural fear of being disowned by family, financial limitations, and financial barriers.
The Sharan Project is dedicated to empowering, educating, and inspiring South Asian women about advice and support on all forms of abuse to include:
- Forced Marriage
- Honour Based Abuse
- Dowry Violence and Conflict
- Economic Abuse
- Abandoned Spouses
- Domestic Servitude
They offer a bespoke service centered around finding positive solutions in areas such as health, housing, education, employment, legal, financial and personal development. I am proud to volunteer for the Sharan Project, on a personal level it gives me a gratifying feeling to know through continuously creating awareness – we are reaching victims and survivors, providing them with a lifeline of support, assisting someone with their healing.
There is hope for a better life and a way out for breaking free from a perpetrator.
If you are affected by domestic violence or sexual abuse, you can access free and confidential support at The Sharan Project, and there is shelter to escape from the crime of harmful abuse into a safe environment for you to speak your truth.