Jasvinder Sanghera CBE
Speaker Profile

Writer and advocate for women’s rights in the UK Asian community

Jasvinder was fifteen when she ran away from home to escape a forced marriage to a much older man she'd never met.  She had to move constantly, wary of being tracked down for betraying her family's honour.  Her three years in hiding ended with the news that her sister had committed suicide by setting herself alight.  Her story is one of terrible oppression, a harrowing struggle against a punitive code of honour and finally, triumph over adversity.

'I went back into education aged twenty seven after leaving school when I was sixteen to escape a forced marriage.  I had watched my sisters being taken out of school as minors to marry men they had only met in photographs.  I did my A-levels thinking I couldn’t do it but went on to successfully study and complete a BA degree in Social and Cultural Studies, and was even pregnant in my final year and did it!  I am currently exploring the issues related to victims/survivors of honour-based crimes, identifying their survival strategies to offer hope to other disowned women and children.  I’m also a mother of three children.  I regard myself as an activist and don’t believe anyone should be a prisoner to their past, but instead an architect of their future and that anything is possible.  In these situations our families make us believe that we have shamed them, but I say it is them who should be ashamed: My Honour is Their Shame.”

What the audience can expect
Winner of the 2007 Woman of the Year Award, Jasvinder Sanghera is the co-founder of Karma Nirvana, a community-based project that supports South Asian women affected by domestic violence and so-called honour based crimes.  She has appeared on, amongst others, BBC’s HardTalk and ITV’s This Morning and is regularly called upon as talking head by the media on cases relating to this field. 

Her presenting approach
Eloquent and vivacious, Jasvinder tells her story with humour and humanity while providing a fascinating insight into issues of honour in the Asian community.

Languages
Jasvinder presents in English and Punjabi.

Style
Inspirational, motivational, Drive, Dedication, Overcoming Setbacks, Responding to Pressure.

Quotes

‘Jasvinder’s tireless work at the front-line of domestic violence makes her a very worthy winner of this award.  Her own personal experiences give her an insight into the lives of the women and children that she helps.  So many people have so much to thank her for.  Jasvinder is a great asset to Refuge and I would like to congratulate her and thank her for her commitment and energy in addressing the serious nature of domestic violence within South Asian communities.’

Sandra Horley OBE, Chief Executive of Refuge

'A vivid, honest and deeply moving narrative of despair, courage and hope.'

Lord Lester

Further information
To find out what Jasvinder Sanghera CBE could bring to your event or to make a booking, please contact Alice Saunders.