Cosmo Takes A Break From Sex Tips To Cover The Honor Killings Epidemic


We all know Cosmo mag for one thing in particular: its sex tips. The headlines are on every cover you see at your local grocery store checkout stand. In recent years Cosmo US edition under current editor-in-chief Joanna Coles has vowed to include more diverse content (read: feminist content) including political issues and women’s health.

Cosmo in the UK similarly have been doing a major push for its female audience by covering issues that affect women from all walks of life. One of their biggest campaigns and most notable partnerships has been with advocate group Karma Nirvana, which is dedicated to raising awareness of honor crimes and forced marriages.

According to statistics by the organization, every year there are 5000 honor killings around the world. An honor killing is usually an act of murder carried out by close family members on a girl or young woman who goes against their cultural or religious wishes.

Karma Nirvana believes the number of women killed under this circumstance is actually much higher than 5000, and in the UK alone these crimes are rarely reported for fear of safety to other family members.

Now that there are more groups and organizations offering support and education about this issue, stories are starting to come out of the woodwork and being reported to police and local authorities in the UK. Karma Nirvana teamed up with Cosmo to campaign for a national day of recognition for all the “lost women” that disappear from society and from the world without any recognition or investigation into their deaths.

It is a sad and extremely heart-wrenching topic, especially when you read about parents and siblings willing to kill their own blood for the sake of maintaining a certain reputation.


The team want to have July 14 set aside as a nationally recognized day remembering falling victims. Why July 14? Because it is a date significant with a rare high-profile honor killing case which happened in the UK in 2004.

17-year-old British-Pakistani woman named Shafilea Ahmed was suffocated and murdered by her parents, in front of her siblings, after she refused an arranged marriage. July 14 would’ve been her birthday, and therefore Cosmo UK and Karma Nirvana, in partnership with human rights organization Henry Jackson Society, feel it is necessary for the British government to send a loud and clear statement to perpetrators in the country that they are not going to allow these horrific and sickening crimes to continue. That they are aware of what is happening and they are watching.

Karma Nirvana founder Jasvinder Singhera was part of a powerful documentary called Honor Diaries (which we HIGHLY recommend you watch – it’s on Netflix). In it she spoke about the death of her own sister and how it has haunted her even to this day. The stories she and all the other women talk about from their own cultures and families are deeply disheartening, because these are the types of conversations that need to happen in houses of parliament and congress around the world, not just at the dinner table or on social media.

So Cosmo UK are doing their part in creating an image of a girl being suffocated for a limited edition cover for the February issue. Yes it is for shock factor and yes it is meant to cause you to squirm awkwardly. Because they want as many people as possible to know about this important fight and do something about it.

Watch the video below to get acquainted with what the campaign is all about, and check out the trailer for ‘Honor Diaries’ after that to see that this is not an epidemic that can be ignored. It is literally happening in our communities right now.

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