Imkaan’s Response to the Home Office’s Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls

Imkaan warmly welcomes the government’s Action Plan to End Violence against Women and Girls. Violence against women and girls is a global issue and it is imperative to continue the work to tackle gender-based violence in all its forms, across the UK.  We welcome a commitment to address specific forms of violence including forced marriage and female genital mutilation, however it is crucial that our attitudes and responses to such forms of violence do not alienate the women and girls we are working with and the communities we say we are trying to support.  It is vital that we continue to work in solidarity with existing communities of resistance in the UK and around the world to end violence against women and girls.


Marai Larasi, Imkaan’s Executive Director, comments briefly on ‘the barbie’

Marai Larasi in response to a recent article on ’the barbie’, published 28 January 2013.

The way that female genital mutilation is often framed is within the idea of the ‘cultures’ of the ‘primitive other’ - this fixes whole groups of people in our consciousness and doesn’t allow an interrogation of how patriarchy operates in different situations (i.e. often on girls’ and women’s bodies). We reference ‘other’ peoples and places as ‘more patriarchal’ - we talk about what they do to ‘their girls’ and ‘their women’. This is a real issue in our activism - it continues to lead to fragmentation. We have to get better at making the links.

Yes there are real child protection concerns when we speak of female genital mutilation - but we must tackle the very heart of this. Girls and women are being mutilated in order to fulfill very specific ideas of beauty and ideal womanhood and this mutilation (whether in Harley St, New York or Kololi) has economic implications i.e. people make money out of this industry of cutting / stitching / reshaping / tightening girls and women’s vaginas, breasts, lips etc. and we end up debating the idea of ‘choice’ as if it’s that simple. What else is this, if not female genital mutilation?


Imkaan, Equality Now and City University (2011) The Missing Link: a joined up approach to addressing harmful practices in London. London: Greater London Authority. Download.

Imkaan, Equality Now and City University (2011) The Missing Link: a joined up approach to addressing harmful practices in London Executive Summary. London: Greater London Authority. Download.

Imkaan (2010) Vital Statistics: The experiences of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee women & children facing violence & abuse. London: Imkaan. Download.

Imkaan (2010) Dispelling Myths | Speaking Truths: Focus Group Findings on the Experiences, Needs and Aspirations of Young BAMER Women Living in the UK. London: Imkaan. Download.

Imkaan (2008) A Right to Exist: A Paper Looking at the Eradication of Specialist Services to BAMER Women and Children Fleeing Violence. London: Imkaan. Download.

Imkaan (2008) No Recourse - No Duty to Care? Experiences of BAMER Women and Children Affected by Domestic Violence and Insecure Immigration Status in the UK. London: Imkaan. Download.

Policy Responses and Briefings

Imkaan’s response to the Department for Education consultation on Parental Internet Controls 6 September 2012. Download.

Imkaan’s response to the Social Security Advisory Committee call for evidence on Universal Credit and related regulations 27 July 2012. Download.

Imkaan’s statement in response to the recent government announcement on forced marriage 8 June 2012. Download.

Forced Marriage: Myths and Realities 5 April 2012. View.

Imkaan response to the government’s forced marriage consultation 30 March 2012. Download.

External Contributions and Mentions

Women’s Aid (2012) Safe: The Domestic Abuse Quarterly. Article on Vital Statistics 2, Imkaan’s key findings report on BMER women’s and children’s experiences of gender-based violence. Subscribe.

UK Feminista (2012) End Violence Against Women and Girls.  Campaign video featuring Marai Larasi MBE. View.

UN Women Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence Against Women and Girls (2012) Shelter Module: Women from diverse cultures - Imkaan case study on supporting BMER survivors. Download.

UN Women (2012) Media as a Site to Prevent Violence against Girls and Women.  Expert paper prepared by Marai Larasi MBE for the Expert Group Meeting on prevention of violence against women and girls, 17 - 20 September 2012, Bangkok.  Download.

PICUM (2012) Strategies to End Double Violence Against Undocumented Women: Protecting Rights and Ensuring Justice. Download.

UN Commission on the Status of Women (2012) A Different World is Possible.  Expert paper prepared by Marai Larasi MBE for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, fifty-sixth session, 27 February - 9 March 2012, New York. Download.