> Free Helpline: 0808 801 0301 Amina

It’s Not Ok!

4th – 10th FEBRUARY 2019 is sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week.

Many people, especially students and other young people, are speaking out and saying ‘It’s not ok’ because together, we can ensure nobody thinks it’s societally acceptable to commit these crimes.

Find out more and download a resource pack on the campaign website:


We made this film in conjunction with Imams and Shaykhs to spread the word that Islam is completely against any form of violence against women and girls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhoqxA5l1J4

Activism can take many forms – you only have to do what you’re comfortable with. It’s all about starting conversations and changing the tone within your social groups. If the people you know understand you stand against abuse, they will change their views too. That way, less and less people will think they’ll get away with committing sexual violence. At Amina we made tiny signs for dolls to hold, with statistics such as

If you’d like to get involved, use the #itsnotok hashtag along with our #youcanchangethis campaign hashtag and participate in a conversation that’s become increasingly diverse and energised since #metoo sprung up.

If you’re in Dundee, you can also come along to one of our events during the week – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/best-of-men-duis-and-amina-mwrc-tickets-55523087048 a workshop for young men

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/duis-amina-mwrc-how-can-we-further-equality-workshop-for-women-tickets-55523804193 – a workshop for young women

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/amina-mwrc-dundee-awareness-raising-tickets-55338329433 an awareness-raising session in our Dundee office.

We also have another event coming up in March for International Women’s Day – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dundee-womens-festival-the-judge-an-award-winning-documentary-film-tickets-52662242184

In Glasgow? Come to our screening of our brand new amination ‘Just ‘cos I’m a girl’ https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/just-cos-im-a-girl-glasgow-screening-tickets-55276976926

Our Violence Against Women and Girls development team work year-round to raise awareness of these issues and we’re always looking to work with new groups, so if you’d like us to organise a workshop, get in touch on info@mwrc.org.uk

Tackling FGM in Scotland

Tackling FGM in Scotland

Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting is a form of violence against women which does affect women living in Scotland. It’s an abuse of the human rights of women and girls, and as such, Amina has worked on this issue any times over the years. We are listed as a source of support on the Scottish government’s statement opposing FGM.

We also produced a film named ‘Imams for Change’ which talks about FGM and the fact that it is absolutely not a part of the Muslim faith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QwR_cxPqqE The section on FGM is 10 minutes into the film, but the whole film is well worth a watch! You can find out more here – https://www.fgmaware.org/ and watch a film here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXYl8IkRRq8 to learn more.

If you’ve been affected, you are welcome to call Amina MWRC’s helpline for support on 0808 801 0301.

We spoke to a campaigner who is speaking out in Scotland. 

I am Diare and I work for Dundee International Women’s Centre.
I’m a project worker and as part of my work, I raise awareness of harmful practices such as FGM.
Doing this work in Dundee, I find people do want to learn about FGM, especially the nursing students.
I’m also a community champion with KWISA/African Women in Scotland which involves me going out in the community to talk about issues affecting African women in Scotland.


It’s unusual for women to open up about FGM as it’s still quite taboo.
Hopefully we will break these taboos with the work we’re doing, and the work of women in other countries with practising communities.
A woman who inspires me is Jaha Dukureh who is breaking taboos in the Gambian community.


I was moved to talk about FGM after meeting a group of Somalian women based in Glasgow who speak out about FGM. I thought, if they can do it, I can do it too!

Victim-blaming and revenge p*rn in Nina is Not OK

Victim-blaming and revenge p*rn in Nina is Not OK

Content note: Sexual violence

This week is Book Week Scotland and we’re still in the #16days of activism.

I recently read a book which is such a good read – funny and full of drama – as well as covering some of the issues which we might be thinking about during the 16 days of activism.

‘Nina is Not OK’ is a novel by Shappi Khorsandi. It follows a girl named Nina, who has British and Moroccan heritage, as she struggles with her identity, her family life and a problem with alcohol abuse that develops after a relationship comes to an end. During an evening out with her friend at a nightclub, two men sexually assault her while she is too intoxicated to consent to sexual activity.

The events in Nina’s life are awful, and she’s really in a bad space when the book begins, but it’s amazing to follow her progress from denial and alcohol abuse through to acceptance of her issues, and a sincere effort to deal with them. What I absolutely love (hard to say too much without spoiling the plot) is that the blame for the assault is squarely placed on the perpetrators, and Nina is surrounded by friends and family who support her.

Sadly, some of her former friends blaming her for being assaulted: “You’re a f***ing liar! You’re a LYING F***ING SLAG!”. They want to side with the perpetrator, so they don’t have to stop seeing him. This victim-blaming is a very common reaction. Some reasons for it are explored in this book and also these films from Rape Crisis Scotland.
However, victim-blaming makes it so hard for victims/survivors of sexual assault to get support, and if a crime goes to court, it makes juries biased in favour of the accused.

It’s always illegal to commit rape and sexual assault. People in all sectors of society are raped – women and men, girls and boys, people who wear modest clothing, people who wear revealing clothing, people who go out in the day, people who go out at night, people who stay at home. It is a crime that disproportionately affects women, so Amina: The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre campaigns and supports women who have been affected by this crime.

We use this video in training to explain that it is never acceptable to rape someone, which might be useful if you’re unfamiliar with recent changes to the law, to cover sexual assault of someone who is intoxicated.

There’s a passage in the book where it’s clear that victim-blaming attitudes are putting Nina off reporting the crime. “Can I really expect a guy to take the blame? I mean, yeah, I can, because he was to blame, but the police will just think I’m a slag. They’ll talk to the bouncer in the club who was disgusted by me, they’ll talk to the cab driver, and they will all say: ‘Oh my God, that slag is crying  “rape”.’ That’s what everyone will say, that I’m “crying rape.”

Unfortunately for Nina, the assault was photographed and videoed. The images and video were shared online. This causes Nina a lot of heartache and takes a while to get over, although she does have support around her.

“Beth asks to see the video. I let her, and I let her see the other photos too. She starts to cry, proper hand-to-mouth ‘oh my God’ sobbing. I need people to stop freaking out because there is nothing I can do about what happened. Beth cuddles me and tells me that she loves me. We don’t normally do stuff like that but she is really upset.”

Photo: Shappi Khorsandi

This year, a new law called the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act has come into place. This means that it is now illegal to “disclose, or threaten to disclose, an intimate photograph or film” without consent.
This is an important legal development. It means that if you, for example, seek a divorce after an abusive relationship, and your ex messages you to say he will distribute a photograph of you, even just this threat is an offence.

Women have been campaigning for a long time for this kind of change, and it does feel as though laws are catching up. There have already been convictions in Scotland under this law.

The cab driver mentioned above is a brilliant example of a bystander who acts in a supportive way when Nina is not able to look after herself properly. He’s identified as Muslim in the book. “The cab driver was Muslim. He had one of those white skullcaps on.” Nina feels concerned and vulnerable being in a cab with him, but he looks out for her.

“’She was asleep, you know? I couldn’t wake her.’ The cabbie must have gone to the door and fetched Mum. His Pakistani accent was soft and concerned. ‘She is young. I thought I’d better get her parents, you know what I’m saying.’ […] He waved away further offers of paying the fare, got back in his car and drove away.”

This is a man who doesn’t voice judgemental thoughts, who only provides support.

Amina: MWRC works with Muslim men in Scotland in The Best of Men workshops, so men can learn how to give support to women and girls who have faced abuse, and how to be good bystanders and stop further abuse of women. If you’re interested in a workshop for your community, contact info@mwrc.org.uk

If this blog post has raised something you’d like to talk about, you can ring Amina MWRC’s helpline from Monday to Friday 10am-4pm on 0808 801 0301. https://mwrc.org.uk/what-we-do/helpline/

You can also contact Rape Crisis.




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