In 2004, AdWeek announced that Safilea Ahmed, a 17-year-old girl, had been suffocated by her parents after she refused an arranged marriage. It was eight years later when Safilea’s parents were finally convicted of her murder. It took Ahmed’s sister coming forth with the claim of having seen her sister asphyxiated with a plastic bag to sentence the couple. They will do no less than 25 years of jail time – and we don’t even think that is enough time.
Safilea’s murder is classified as an honor killing – an act of violence (ending in death) that is perpetrated by the victim’s family because he or she has brought “shame” upon their ancestry. The disappointing truth is that Safilea isn’t the only woman who has faced such an unjust death recently or even within the past 100 years. Women’s advocacy groups suspect that more than 20,000 women worldwide are victims of honor killings each year as reported by BBC in 2000.
To bring attention to this grotesque crime, Cosmopolitan UK is releasing its February issue with a limited edition cover. It will feature the visceral image of a girl suffocating within the magazine’s plastic wrapping. The limited print is accompanied by an ad campaigne video that shows the packaged magazine being opened – it is powerful to say the least and leaves the viewer with the hopeful feeling that women will no longer fall victim to such pain.
Cosmopolitan UK will also be joining other organizations to create a day of remembrance for the British women who have lost their lives within past years as the victims of culturally spurred killings. It will take place on July 14th – Safilea Ahmed’s birthday.
To the women who have fallen victim to honor crimes: we at BUST remember you. To the girls and women who are still out there: if you or someone you know is in danger of being harmed please contact Karma Nirvana’s helpline at 0800 5999247
Information and images courtesy of AdWeek, Karma Nirvana, Cosmopolitan UK, and Refinery29