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It is not part of anyone’s culture to be abused

Tulay Goren’s death won’t be the last so long as misplaced cultural sensitivity stops us acting against forced marriages

Twice, in the weeks before she was murdered by her father, Tulay Goren told the police that she feared for her life. And twice she was ignored. Mehmet Goren, who was convicted of murder yesterday, killed his 15-year-old daughter because she had fallen in love with an “unsuitable” older man. To Mehmet, the affair made her a “worthless commodity” who could not be married off for a £5,000 dowry. The authorities did nothing to protect her, even though the police became involved when her father attacked her boyfriend, and even though Mehmet demanded in front of police officers that his daughter take a virginity test. Only a decade after her murder in 1999 has justice been done.

“Honour killings” in Britain? Impossible. To many people the case of Tulay Goren will come as a shock, but not to me. I know from personal experience, and from working with victims, that such “honour” crimes are a huge social problem in this country. The shame is not just that it is happening on such a large scale, but that it is so often covered up for fear of upsetting cultural sensibilities. Serious crimes are being treated as a matter for diversity officers rather than for the police and the courts.

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