In situations in which women are not believed when they report acts of violence, harassment, rape, and abuse, the perpetrators can get away with it. Additionally, the perpetrators continue to abuse and harass the victim. This will adversely affect every aspect of the woman’s life. This includes finding employment, education, and a wide range of opportunities.
In my case, the authorities failed to take action regarding my assaults Islamophobia, and harassment. The violence I suffered from men resulted in me being forced to live in rent arrears. In addition, I was unable to secure paid employment abandoning my master’s degree. I also fled the country. For the past four years, I have lived an abusive life in my home.
Although I reported most of the incidents to the police, their lack of action resulted in men continuing to harass me. I found it most frustrating not to be believed and to be fobbed off. When a woman is harassed, she might even consider calling the police for assistance, something I have done on numerous occasions. However, when the police fail you and victim blame you for the abuse you are experiencing, then you are left in a cycle of abuse that seems to never end.
If this is the case, where should a woman turn for assistance? To avoid abuse, I had no choice but to document all the evidence and protect myself as much as possible.
Due to the lack of action by the police, the sad fact is that more often than not you will not be able to access the services and assistance offered by the very organisations set up to assist women fleeing violence.
This may lead to further abuse and exploitation of women, just as it did in my case. My abuse has so many layers that I am in the process of writing a book about it.
Is there anything that can be done to change the perpetuation of violence and abuse against women? Yes. To help women access the services they need and find the assistance they require, it is important to believe them in the first instance. Women will be left vulnerable to exploitation and abuse if they are victimised.
You are an organisation with staff who have worked for your organisation, which was established to help women suffering abuse, harassment, and violence for over twenty years. Therefore, it is imperative that you continue to train your staff. In my experience, I have spoken with many organisations whose staff lacked empathy or any consideration for the abuse I had experienced. If anything, their tone was quite abusive and victim-blaming in nature. In my opinion, if you have lost all empathy for women fleeing violence and abuse, then you should consider leaving your position to make way for people who truly care and want to make a difference.
What can the police do?
The police need to make violence against women their priority. When a woman reports abuse to you. The last thing she wants to hear is “what did you do to be abused” something I have heard from officers attending a 999 call. The truth is nothing I can do would warrant a man being islamophobic towards me, Being called “terrorist” “Batman” Raghead” and everything else will eventually affect you.
There is a need for police officers to be empathic and understanding when it comes to violence against women. There is a need for more training in this VAWG. Perhaps monthly training would be helpful. Since the police are the first point of contact for all victims of abuse, they must get this right. This will ensure that women have access to the services they need.
Recently, I was invited to present to serving police officers at a constabulary about the challenges faced by visibly Muslim women like myself. Would that make a difference? I’m not sure. The responsibility to ensure the safety of women within our society rests with everyone, especially organisations. Organisations need to invest more time and resources in improving how women can access the help they require.
Doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, local councils and emergency services are often the first point of contact for many women. Therefore, you must ensure that these women are provided with the assistance you claim you wish to provide. Change is necessary once and for all, so excuses will no longer be accepted.
At the moment, I am in Birmingham after leaving London. I have contacted Birmingham City Council homeless team. Despite the fact that I have provided them with a copy of my birth certificate, they do not believe that I am British. Let alone discuss the abuse I have endured. As far as proving my British citizenship is concerned, I cannot even get past that.
According to the council in London, I should contact the council in Birmingham. As a result of women’s harassment and violence not being taken seriously, this occurs. My Islamophobia was covered in the mainstream media, but it is not enough for the local council here, despite the fact that I moved home to avoid the abuse.
Leave a Reply