London: British-Indian Jasvinder Sanghera has set up a hotline for troubled women and is speaking out against honour killing. When Jasvinder was 14 years old, her mother showed her a photograph of the man she had been promised to marry at the age of eight.
Jasvinder says she refused and her parents locked her up in a room. She managed to run away, but as she wrote in her book, it ended her relationship with her parents. But when her older sister committed suicide, setting herself on fire rather than enduring an abusive marriage, Jasvinder acted.
In 1994, she set up Karma Nirvana a national hotline for forced marriage and honour based violence. It receives about 500 calls a month from both men and women. Half the people who answer phones at Karma Nirvana are themselves survivors of honour based violence.
"I have seen cases where girls have been murdered for passing their driving tests. For having aspirations after school. For being seen kissing a boy at a tube station. Women asking their partners for a divorce being murdered. So, these are the triggers," says Jasvinder.
Just before the summer holidays, Jasvinder tours British schools, telling her story of growing up in a Sikh family in Britain and in the hope that it will save someone's life.