I’m so excited to announce that my book is going to be made into an audiobook. In fact, it is currently in production and my narrator will be Gill Mills from the UK. I thought it was essential to have someone with a British accent to tell my story. After all, my story began in the UK where I was born and raised. I lived there for 22 years before I moved to the USA.
Currently, it’s available on Amazon and other retailers in eBook and paperback formats at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MCG6TGG
I just uploaded the video of the retail sample of the audiobook. Here it is.
Please feel free to contact me using the email on my business card. I hope to hear from you. If you would like to get a copy of my book, please look it up on Amazon, or scan the QR code below.
I haven’t shared my new flyer yet! I hope you like it! I made it all myself using Photoshop!
I have news to share, and I know I haven’t been writing that much but this news is important news. I have lost 42 pounds during this awful year when Covid 19 has been running rampant. Yes, I lost those 42 pounds in 7 months! I could easily have put on weight since I worked from home the majority of that time. However, earlier in the year, I had a bit of a scare – the doctor said I was at a risk of getting diabetes – in fact he even told me that I had pre-diabetes. I was shocked! I knew I didn’t want to get diabetes. I have a really good friend who has diabetes and I know how it has affected her. No thanks, I thought to myself – I have to do something about this. The doctor told me that I was overweight. My weight had been up to about 167 as a high this year, and even though I told him I take two fifteen minute walks every day, he said that I need to add an additional thirty minutes of exercise into my day. I told him that in addition, to the two fifteen minute walks, I’ve been going to the gym just about every weekend and do 30 minutes on the eliptical as well as 10-15 minutes on the treadmill. Still, he didn’t seem to be impressed and said that I need to cut down my sugar and get more activity. I was in a daze.
What could I do? I immediately cut out the sugar, and stopped eating those bite size pieces of chocolate with my cup of hot tea at night. I switched to almond milk (unsweetened) instead of milk with my cereal. I stopped eating bananas every day (so sad) as how could a banana have so much sugar? I began to learn things that I had never questioned. I had been informed by Doctor that an entire whole banana plus an apple every day had too much sugar in it and was too much for me. I need to either have half a banana, plus an apple or just the banana. I thought I was being healthy! Also, even though I ate a sandwich with whole wheat bread just about every day, I was now instructed to cut it down to one slice of bread instead of two. I of course had to cut out other things such as ice-cream, cake, and cookies.
I started to go to the gym before work starting on February 25th, 2020 – before the pandemic even started or was recognized to officially exist here in the USA. This is when I started working out every day none stop. I would do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise in the morning and do my two additional 15 minute walks in the afternoon. I started running every day since March 22, 2020. When my gym at my apartment closed due to the pandemic, I was flabbergasted, and wondered how I was going to manage my exercise needs now and determined not to give up and that I would have to start running outside. I have never really run outside before and during that month from Feb 25 – March 22nd and before running outside, I had started to build up my running endurance on the treadmill. I used to be out of breath after two or three minutes, then I would start walking and catch my breath, and continue with another three minutes of running, until I could run for about 5 minutes. I was then able to slowly get up to running for about 7 minutes and got to the point where I could run for 20 minutes. I was worried about running outside, and wondered if I could do it. I am lucky to have a beautiful trail close by to where I live. It is only a three minute walk away. That first day that I ran and for about a week thereafter, I ran for about 20 minutes per day. Starting March 28th, I was able to run for 30 minutes and did the same the next few days. Starting Thursday, April 2nd, I couldn’t run on the trail as it was closed due to the pandemic. Oh my gosh, all these obstacles! What was I to do? I decided that I couldn’t stop – I realized that I could run in a parking lot, so I chose the Kaiser parking lot not too far from where I live and would get there every morning at around 6 am and run around the lot – about 22 times in total until I had done 30 minutes. It was good that it was well lit. This continued every day until April 25th when the trail reopened and I resumed my daily running there. I still get out of breath, and wonder why I’m not fit now that I’ve been running daily for nine months, but then I remind myself that I’m not a spring chicken, I have to remember that I started running late in life and I don’t have the fitness of someone who first started doing this in their teens or twenties. I believe it’s different if you start later in life, you can be somewhat fit, but never as fit as someone who is a lot younger – but I am mainly describing myself here, I’m sure there are others who might not be like me and might be able to run at 52 without being a little out of breath.
I’ve had a few hiccups along the way. On Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, I realized that I had some pain around my shins. I ignored the pain. I kept running until Saturday, May 2nd when I couldn’t run anymore and had to walk instead. I took two days off from walking on the 5th and 6th, and returned back to walking on May 7th once my new compression socks arrived. I had looked up shin splint injuries on Google, and came across a possible cure for myself, and of course ordered a pair of compression socks from Amazon. On Friday, May 8th, I ran again for the first day in six days! I wore my compression socks of course, and luckily they worked. I’ve been wearing them ever since every time I go out running.
My next mishap was on July 11th when I fell, and luckily I didn’t get too hurt. I hurt my left arm near my shoulder, and had a big scrape. I hurt both knees and had scrapes on them, especially on the left knee, and both knees were sore. My left arm was sore too, near my shoulder, and my right palm of my hand. I also broke my beloved Apple Watch! The screen got damaged and cracked and I couldn’t use the touchscreen anymore.
All in all, I’ve only had about 10 days off from running during this entire time! I was 167 pounds earlier in the year and since I’ve been logging my weight – this is what I’ve recorded:
167 pounds – January 2020
151.37 pounds average – February 2020
148.68 pounds average – March 2020
143.95 pounds average – April 2020
140.13 pounds average – May 2020
136.68 pounds average – June 2020
135.16 pounds average – July 2020
134.4 pounds average – August 2020
129.91 pounds average – September 2020
127.75 pounds average – October 2020
127.3 pounds average – November 2020
127.22 pounds average – December 2020
I have reached 125.2 lbs and been in the 125 lb region on at least three occasions so far, so that is why I have calculated my weight loss as being 42 lbs from the high of 167 lbs to the low of 125 lbs. I have had my blood sugar tested again, and in June the results showed that my hemoglobin A1C was within the standard range, so I don’t have pre-diabetes anymore! However, I continue having almond milk in my cereal, and still try to have less sweets, although I’m not always good. The problem is I have a sweet tooth and that’s what got me into the mess to begin with. I have cut down though and just incorporating the daily exercise into my lifestyle as something that I have to do every day like brushing my teeth just helps keep me on track. I still have that piece of chocolate with my tea, and the occasional cookie or dessert. But, I don’t go over the top anymore, I can’t afford to. Below are some pictures.
What I have learnt from this is it doesn’t matter how old you are – you can do it! Where there is a will, there is a way! I am 52 years old. I started running at 51, turned 52 in October, and if I can do it, you can do it! I challenge myself constantly. Each Saturday, I try to increase my running even if by a minute each time. This last Saturday (December 12, 2020), I ran 52 minutes none-stop, the previous Saturday, I ran 51 minutes. I will keep going until I get to 60 minutes. After that, I’m not sure if I want to run more than an hour at a time.
We have to watch our health, it’s all we have sometimes, and we have to take it seriously. Make sure you know what your blood sugar levels are, ask your doctor if you can be tested. Cut down on your sugar, and increase your exercise. Look after yourself. Stay safe, be happy, be healthy and may we all have a much better 2021!
Words can’t express how excited I am that Yaser Said – the evil scumbag monster who murdered his two beautiful daughters in Texas more than twelve years ago – has finally been caught! So happy! So relieved! So overjoyed. I feel like having a party, and celebrating so much. I have been on Cloud 9 since I heard the news within a few hours of his capture on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 – just three days ago!
Yaser Said was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
He evaded capture for more than 12 years, and walked free all that time. How despicable! There was a strong movement to spread awareness about what happened to these girls. In fact, you might be familiar with the hashtag #CatchYaserNow.
I even posted a picture of myself in 2015 holding a home-made sign I created with the words #CatchYaserNow.
The hashtag was created by the film makers of a documentary about the girls, so that the monster could be caught, yet he still evaded capture for all those years. There was even a reward of a $100,000 for any tips leading to his arrest, yet he still evaded capture. The FBI were on the lookout for him, yet he still evaded capture. He was even featured by John Walsh on America’s Most Wanted. It is fabulous that #CatchYaserNow can be retired as a hashtag as was said by the film makers of a documentary produced by Nena Nejad and Xoel Pamos. Please watch this documentary “The Price Of Honor” as it was instrumental in spreading the word about what the girls went through in their short lives. This documentary is so amazing and pays tribute to the heartbreaking story of the Said girls. So happy for all the work that Nena and Xoel put into spreading awareness. So happy too for Ruth Trotter Pink and her son Joseph who also worked tirelessly in the pursuit of justice. Here is a link to the documentary:
Yaser Said wanted his freedom, when the very reason why his daughters are gone is because he hated that they wanted – their freedom. He thought they were too westernized, and didn’t like that they had boyfriends. What did he expect? They were born in this country – the USA, land of the free. Why would he expect them to not want what other Americans want, to feel what other Americans feel? This is the same horrible ideology that so many of us have faced no matter where we live in this world, but especially if we are born in the West – the USA or the UK for instance. We are exposed to culture all around us, pop music, western dress, shows on TV, romance books, etc., yet we can’t have those things. We are expected to go along with what our families want of us – to comply with traditions that don’t make sense in these parts of the world, in fact, to some degree they don’t make sense any more at all. Which traditions am I referring to? I’m referring to arranged marriage, and even child marriage. How can we be expected to want to marry strangers when the very books we read – lead us to want more – to have the romance we read about while growing up?
I spoke about this in my recent video that I shared in a previous blog post and even mentioned Sarah and Amina Said as just some of the honor killing victims here in the USA. Some would like to say, it doesn’t happen here, but yes it does and it’s happened to other girls too such as Noor Alemeki of Arizona, and Jassi Sidhu, not too far away in Canada.
Sarah Said and Amina Said were murdered by their dad because they didn’t want to give in to these traditions. They didn’t want an arranged marriage. They didn’t want to be married to strangers. They were human beings like the rest of us who gave in to love, and had boyfriends and just wanted to live and be happy. For that they were murdered. They were victims of an honor killing. Even though there is no honor in killing, in fact it is very dishonorable, the name is given to these types of murders to signify that families will do whatever they can to hold on to the families reputation and pride. If daughters step out of line, their reputation is at stake, and the entire community could ostracize them. They care more about what the community thinks than they care about their own flesh and blood. They would rather shut their children up for ever, and feel they have saved their “honor” in the eyes of the community, than be scorned by the community. It is a complex and horrible way of thinking, but has to be talked about. Until we can spread the awareness that these are not just murders, but mention the root cause, we are not doing these victims any favors, and we need to. We owe it to them, our sisters, who are left voiceless – that we become the voice for them, so that there will be no more victims of this senseless murder. Yes, murder it is, but it is also an honor killing and we have to educate the public so that more people become aware of how evil it is to force anyone into marriage, to take their human rights away from them, their freedom away from them. There is no excuse for abuse. Culture is no excuse for abuse. Tradition is no excuse for abuse. Let’s spread the word. End forced marriage, end honor killings, end child marriage. Until we root out these evil traditions, in fact, make them illegal and have laws against them, there could be many more honor killings, and we just can’t have that.
Sarah and Amina, rest in peace beautiful angels. We wish you were here to see justice. We hope you are watching from heaven and can now finally rest in peace. We miss you, and rejoice in the capture of your evil monster dad. The streets are rid of his filth, and we love the fact that every day he will be waking up in prison now. We hope he will be very uncomfortable there, and will rot there.
Lastly, I would like for you to sign my petition if you haven’t already done so. In this petition, I ask for an end to child marriage and forced marriage. For the sake of these girls, and survivors like myself and so many others, we would be honored to have you sign and support us.
I’m so happy to announce that the video for the June 13th United Against Harmful Practices is now on YouTube. Why am I happy? I’m happy because the awareness can be spread about the human rights abuses discussed during the Zoom meeting. No one should suffer child marriage or forced marriage.
Some individuals tried to stop our meeting by zoom bombing it. They tried to share inappropriate images, and tried to silence us, but we will not be silenced. It’s important to speak up about this and not be intimidated. The zoom recording would have been available a lot earlier had these horrible individuals not interfered. However, our recording is mostly unaffected except in one place where unfortunately one part was shorter than it should have been for one of the speakers. That speaker was amazing! She dealt with the interruption so magnificently, I was amazed.
Please do watch the video, as I believe it is enlightening, empowering and even educational. Where else have so many survivors all been under one roof so to speak (even if it was the Zoom roof) and told their very real and personal stories? We are doing this to spread awareness so that no other child should suffer what we went through. Thanks in advance for watching.
Join us for this Zoom Webinar which will take place on Saturday, June 13th at 11 AM PST / 2PM EST / 7 PM UK time and will feature survivors of forced marriage and child marriage who will speak their personal stories of the heartbreaking circumstances that led up to their human rights abuse, how they dealt with it and how they rose past it. This is not a presentation you want to miss as there are amazing speakers lined up. There will be five speakers, and Jasvinder Sanghera will be the moderator. Here is more information on the speakers.
Jasvinder Sanghera CBE
Founder of Karma Nirvana, and Forced Marriage Survivor
She is a highly acclaimed international speaker and an expert advisor to the courts in matters of child, civil and criminal proceedings, is a chair of domestic homicide reviews and was instrumental in ensuring that all UK police forces are required to improve their understanding of honour based abuse and forced marriage by inspections conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Her memoir ‘Shame’ was a Times Top 10 Bestseller and described in the House of Lords as a ‘political weapon’. Jasvinder is recognised as bringing the issue of forced marriage into the public domain and Prime Minister David Cameron stated that her work ‘turned my head on the issue of forced marriage’. Her work is recognised as being pivotal to the creation of a specific UK forced marriage criminal offence in 2014. Her successful claim of sexual harassment against a peer in the House of Lords was the first in its 479 year history and has already led to an increase in reporting and resulted in significant changes in the House of Lords policy and practice including greater debates and reforms, resulting in a House of Lords independent inquiry into sexual harassment and bullying.
She has received numerous awards including the prestigious Woman of the Year 2007. She was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby in 2008. She was awarded The Pride of Britain Award in 2009 and was named Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year in 2010. In 2011 she was listed in the Guardian’s top 100 Most Inspirational Women in the World and in 2012 received the Global Punjabi Award. She was awarded Commander of the British Empire in 2013 in recognition of her outstanding contribution for the victims of forced marriage and honour based abuse and in 2014 was awarded Legal Campaigner of the Year. Jasvinder is also listed as an entry in the 2016 edition of the book Who’s Who and in the same year received the International Woman Award for human rights from the Italian media. In 2018 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law by De Montfort University, Leicester, Woman of the Year by Leeds City Council and in 2019 she was awarded the Robert Burns Humanitarian of the Year Award and also the Sikh Woman of Substance Award. For more information please visit: jasvindersanghera.com
Child Marriage Survivor
Dawn Tyree is an author, activist, speaker, and a founding member of The National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the U.S. The story of her experience as a child forced into marriage has been published in The New York Times, Reuters, and translated into more than 12 different languages. She was featured in a two-hour documentary on child marriage in the U.S. as part of the A & E Network docuseries, “I Was a Child Bride: The Untold Story” with Elizabeth Vargas that aired April 2019. A personal essay, “I Turned my Child Marriage Trauma into Activism” was published January 2020 in YES! Magazine. Her poem, “The Forest Dweller,” appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Portland Metrozine; and her essay “Spotlight On Child Marriage” was published in the Summer 2019 issue.
Twitter – @Dawnbtyree
Instagram – @dawnbtyree
Facebook – @DawnTyree
Forced Marriage Survivor
Davinder Kaur was born and raised in Bradford, England. She was just 14 years old when she was shown the picture of a man she would have to marry at the age of 18. Try as she might, Davinder could not get out of the agreement. Davinder knows only too well that many arranged marriages are really forced marriages. She escaped from her forced marriage 6 weeks after the marriage took place. She now shares her story in the aim of spreading awareness via social media as well as with public speaking. She is a strong believer in education first, then marriage, as her right to education was denied to her after High School as she was told that since marriage was on the agenda for her, there was no need for further education.
Davinder recently became a member of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage, as well as the California Coalition to End Child Marriage. She has already independently mentored a forced marriage victim from India who was referred to her by a friend, and now looks forward to mentoring forced marriage victims for Unchained At Last soon. Davinder wants to see an end to child marriage, not just here in California, but all over the USA, and all over the world. She met with Assemblymember Brian Maienschein’s office earlier in February 2020, to plea her case of ending child marriage in California and also presented her story as well as petition on Change.org. She’s hoping with the help of Unchained At Last and the CA Coalition to End Child Marriage, that California will become the next state to raise the marriage age to 18, with no exceptions.
Davinder welcomes you to sign her petition https://www.change.org/EndChildMarriageAndEndForcedMarriage as she feels that all petitions like this should be signed for very necessary change to take place. She would also like you to write a letter to support the Digital Letter Writing Campaign put together by the CA Coalition to End Child Marriage. Since Davinder lives in CA, this is where she will aim her attention first with making change. She also wants to see forced marriage criminalized here in the USA, just like it was in the UK. She is proud to have signed numerous petitions against forced marriage, and her signature was also on the petition to criminalize forced marriage in the UK. Davinder is a strong believer that oceans and borders are insignificant when it comes to the fight against human rights abuse. Anyone has the power to be part of change by adding their voice, and adding their signature. She also wants to see schools and colleges teach the students about human rights abuses such as child marriage, forced marriage and honor-based abuse. Davinder wants to see law enforcement trained here in the USA just like they were in the UK to improve their understanding of honor-based abuse and forced marriage.
Davinder moved to the USA when she was 22, and now lives in San Diego, where she graduated from university late in life with a Bachelors in Business Administration, and is the proud mother of three children. Her oldest daughter is 23 years old and has a Bachelor’s Degree, and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Her son is 18 years old and at college and her youngest daughter is 11 years old. She likes to remind them about the importance of education first, then marriage! Davinder is in the process of writing her first book which is about her forced marriage experience.
Twitter – @luchank and @angel4many
Instagram – @luchanik
YouTube – @luchaniktravel
Facebook – @luchanik
Pinterest – @luchanik
Child Marriage Survivor
Sara Tasneem is a forced child marriage survivor. As a mentor and activist, she works publicly to enact legislation that would legally ban child marriage in United States. Sara works to create awareness of child marriage in the U.S. by sharing her story across national and international media outlets, through educational seminars, public speaking events, and by lobbying legislative bodies to end child marriage. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Golden Gate University.
Sara volunteers with non-profit Unchained at Last as a mentor to young girls and women who are leaving their abusive forced child marriages and is a member of the steering committee for the National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States, She works with multiple non-profits along with other survivors to create a network of survivor led advocacy to end child marriage in the U.S.
At just fifteen, Tasneem was forced to marry a 28-year-old stranger. Sadly, she is not alone. Statistics from non-profit Unchained At Last report that 248,000 children as young as 12 were married in the United States between 2000 and 2010. 87% percent of minors who married between 2000 and 2015 were girls. (Frontline, 2017). According to Sara, ending child marriage in the United States is an uphill battle because each state must approve new bills limiting the age of marriage to 18. Many states, including California, are reticent to pass such bills because of age-old patriarchal views of marriage and pregnancy. In 2017, Delaware and New Jersey passed the marriage laws necessary to limit the age of marriage to 18 with no exceptions. After the age of 18, individuals are considered adults and can access the vital services they might need if they experience abuse or want to divorce their partners. Currently, 48 out of 50 states still allow children under the age of 18 to marry with parental consent. Join Sara in her fight to end child marriage in California today by signing her petition at Change.org.
Child Marriage Survivor, and Campaigner, IKWRO
Payzee Mahmod is a survivor of FGM and child marriage, who lost her sister Banaz in a tragic “honour” killing, Payzee’s is a Kurdish immigrant, raised in London, with a successful career in the fashion industry, she uses her voice to speak out and has made it her mission to be a change maker, helping to tackle these harmful practices.
Payzee has joined IKWRO in the Campaigns Team, she has reached international audiences speaking widely on the need for changes to the laws surrounding child marriage and “honour” based abuse in her TEDX talk, across radio, television and newspapers, including The Sunday Times and the BBC. Through speeches at Parliament and meeting with government officials and the Home Office Minister to explain first-hand why change is needed, Payzee campaigns for better education, training and legislation to finally make child marriage a crime.
Twitter & Instagram: @payzeemalika
Founder/Executive Director, Unchained At Last
Fraidy was 19 when her family arranged for her to marry a man who turned out to be violent. But with no education or job, in an insular religious community where only men have the right to grant a divorce, she felt trapped.
Still trapped at age 27, Fraidy defied her husband and community to become the first person in her family to go to college. She graduated from Rutgers University at age 32 as valedictorian (called “commencement speaker” at Rutgers).
Her family declared her dead, but Fraidy persevered: With her journalism degree, she was hired as a reporter for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, eventually getting promoted to the paper’s elite investigative-reporting team. She went on to a career as an investigator at Kroll, the world’s largest investigations firm. At the same time, Fraidy managed to get divorced, win full custody of her two daughters and get a final restraining order against her ex-husband.
But Fraidy knows that most women and girls who want to flee or resist an arranged/forced marriage are limited by finances, religious law and social customs. For them, Fraidy founded and now leads Unchained At Last.
Fraidy is recognized internationally as an expert on forced and child marriage in America. Her writing on the subject has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and countless other publications in the U.S. and beyond, and she has been interviewed and featured by those outlets as well as Financial Times, BBC, PBS, NPR, CBS and others. Legislation she helped to write to end or reduce child marriage has been introduced and, in some cases, already passed in multiple U.S. states.
Here is the flyer for the event and to register for the event, please do so at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-against-harmful-practices-tickets-106806695702