Bristol sisters aim to raise awareness of 'honour hate'

Image caption,
Amaleelah wants to raise awareness of "slut shaming" in different communities

Two sisters who had experienced "honour hate" in their community are to work to raise awareness of it in schools.

Amaleehah and Nadia Aslam-Forrester, from Bristol, were targeted by members of the Asian community for posting photos of themselves in skirts online.

The sisters, who have a Pakistani mother and English father, said they were "slut-shamed" for not upholding cultural norms of women's behaviour.

They are now working with a charity to educate young people about the issue.

So-called honour crimes are acts that have been committed to protect or defend the supposed honour or reputation of a family and extended community.

Amaleehah Aslam-Forrester, 22, said the pair had always been creative and would use Instagram to express their love of art, modelling and clothes.

However, they faced a backlash online for the photographs because of what they said were "deeply ingrained cultural pressures".

Image source, Amaleehah
Image caption,
Amaleelah said the "hate messages" they received were "awful"

Their social media presence also alarmed their mother.

Worried about their safety, she put the sisters in touch with Integrate, a youth-led charity in Bristol which has campaigned for gender and racial equality and been supported by Sport Relief.

They attended a series of workshops with other young women about issues including female genital mutilation, sexism and honour-based violence and eventually made a film about the issue.

Amaleehah said: "In our community, honour lies within the body of a woman.

"There's always pressure on her to uphold men's honour in her behaviour and also in the way she dresses.

'Hate messages'

"We had one case where someone told us to drink bleach [on social media].

"We got a lot of hate messages. Some people were anonymous, making fake accounts. It was awful.

"And that was all because we were being judged, there was stereotyping involved."

She said "slut-shaming" in general was about women's honour and there is no culture in society that does not experience some form of this.

"Integrate gave us a voice in a community that didn't really understand us."

Amaleehah is now employed to raise awareness of honour hate in all communities in schools across the UK.