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A Heartbreaking Memorial For An “Honor” Killing Victim, Created With Tweets And 3-D Printing

A people-powered sculpture of Shafilea Ahmed was created to raise awareness and let others know there is help available.

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A U.K. National Day of Memory for the victims of so-called “honor” killings was marked with a 3-D printed sculpture, powered by supporters’ tweets.

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The charity, Karma Nirvana, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honor-based abuse, ran the campaign to help build public awareness around the issues in Britain.

The National Day of Memory took place on July 14, a date chosen because it would have been the 29th birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, who was murdered by her parents at the age of 17 after being the victim of years of honor-based mistreatment.

The social media campaign, created by agency Leo Burnett, centered on a 3-D printed bust of Shafilea. The printer was programmed to respond to peaks in activity behind the hashtag #RememberShafilea. The young woman was suffocated by her parents, with a plastic bag, in front of her siblings. The charity said in a statement that the idea behind the 3-D printing was to “use plastic in a more positive way.” In addition, the charity hoped to “thwart” the intention of Shafilea’s parents to “erase this ‘stain’ from their family history” by rebuilding her memory with the 3-D sculpture.

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3-D printed sculpture of Shafilea Ahmed

A webpage and film allowed supporters to view the progress of the sculpture as the Day of Memory unfolded. As well as raising awareness, the campaign was also intended to let other victims know they are not alone and help is available.

Karma Nirvana estimates 5,000 women worldwide have been victims of “honor” killings but adds that the true number is thought to be far higher as many women simply disappear.

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About the author

Louise Jack is a London-based journalist, writer and editor with a background in advertising and marketing. She has written for several titles including Marketing Week, Campaign and The Independent.

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