Over 350 women and young girls over the age of 14 attended the Sadi Awaaz Suno (Listen to our Voices) event held at the Woodville Halls in Gravesham on Friday March 27.  The event was organised in partnership by Rethink Sahayak, North West Kent Racial Equality Council and Cohesion Plus.

The aim of the event was to look at issues such as domestic violence, forced marriages, women’s health issues and the different support services available to women in Gravesham.

It also provided an opportunity for women to socialise and watch a full array of cultural performances and as well as have an opportunity to dance themselves later on in the evening.

The main guest speaker was Jagdeesh Singh who spoke about the case of his sister Surjit Athwal who was taken to the Punjab and murdered by her in laws and his struggle for justice. He spoke about how difficult it was for him to get agencies such as the Foreign Office and the Police to take his case forward initially, and that in the end it took him 8 years to get justice for his sister.

There were also presentations from Rethink Sahayak and their work locally around mental health issues in the local Asian Community, Kent Police and their work around Forced Marriages and Domestic Violence.

Gurvinder Sandher from Cohesion Plus commented, “We have had a very good response to our event.  The issues that were discussed today were very hard hitting and it was very positive to see so many people in attendance.  I believe that all in attendance will have learnt something from today, I was personally very moved by the passionate presentation by Jagdeesh Singh and his struggle to get justice for his sister.”

Carol Gosal the Area Service Manager for Kent and Sussex for Rethink said, “A lot of hard work went into pulling this event together.  It all proved to be worthwhile with the fantastic attendance we had.  Rethink is committed to working in partnership with the North West Kent Racial Equality Council, Cohesion Plus and our statutory and community partners to make a positive difference to women who may need help and support with some of the issues which were discussed today.”