‘I don’t want my sisters to be suffering in silence’: Government advisor calls on ethnic minority women to provide evidence for gender-based violence strategy

In an appeal to women, Nimco Ali said: “We can’t do this without your voices. Legislations and strategies can only be informed and effective if we all take part in them and I really don’t want women of colour to be missing from this strategy”

Written by Sophie Huskisson

Published on 15th February 2021

INCLUSION: Nimco wants to ensure that all women are included in the survey (Image via Getty Images)

ETHNIC MINORITY women have been called to provide evidence to inform the Home Office’s strategy to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG), by Nimco Ali, the government advisor on the topic.

Speaking directly to the Voice, Ali, who was appointed to help draw up the strategy, which is expected to be released later this year, said she wants women of colour to provide evidence and make sure the strategy represents them.

Nimco said that while she knows that there are certain gender-based violence issues which exist in ethnic minority communities such as “FGM [female genital mutilation], spiritual abuse, enforced marriage, or even polygamy,” she needs evidence and data to help create informed and effective legislations and strategies to tackle them.

Nimco said “ending FGM and strengthening the provisions in order to protect girls from FGM, upskirting, and stalking” were some key areas where legislation had been passed because women had identified and raised them as an issue. 

“Ultimately, the reality is that unless we name the problem, there is no way to try to get funding for it and to try to make legislation around it,” she said.

As a survivor of FGM herself, Nimco founded the Five Foundation, a global campaign to end FGM in 2019. She received an OBE in recognition of her work in the same year. 

FGM has affected at least 200 million women and girls around the world and 137,000 in England and Wales alone.

Nimco said that being “failed as a child, and then constantly dismissed as a grown up has ultimately given me the voice that I have today.

“I want to make sure that other survivors of violence from ethnic minorities are not othered.”

In an appeal to women of colour Nimco said: “We can’t do this without your voices. Legislations and strategies can only be informed and effective if we all take part in them and I really don’t want women of colour to be missing from this strategy. 

“I don’t want my sisters to be suffering in silence. So in order for us to be able to get funding for issues that affect minority women, we have to be able to identify that they exist. Data and voices matter and I really want to make sure that girls of colour are safe in this country.

“There is no culture that should justify violence, and the things that are happening to us within our communities are because of our gender not because of our race and we care, and I care, and I want those things to come to the forefront but they can’t unless we have the evidence that they exist.”

After being asked about the unsteady relationship the black community has with the Conservative government, Nimco said she is an independent advisor and that “sexual violence, domestic violence, and FGM are not going to wait for a party that I 100% align with to end. I am very much clear that, for me, it is very much not about party allegiance or political ideologies, it is ultimately about feminism.”

The call is the first of its kind to ask the general public for evidence instead of asking service providers or professionals to give their insight into what they think the government should be doing to end violence.

Nimco assured The Voice that the process is anonymous.

Anyone over the age of 16 can contribute and they do not have to have experienced violence or abuse to take part.

The survey can be found in the link below.

Source: https://www.voice-online.co.uk/news/uk-news/2021/02/15/i-dont-want-my-sisters-to-be-suffering-in-silence-government-advisor-calls-on-ethnic-minority-women-to-provide-evidence-for-gender-based-violence-strategy/

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